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Master-Thesis: Membrane filtration for energy efficient separation of ligno-cellulosic biomass com-ponents


AEE – Institute for Sustainable Technologies (AEE  INTEC) was founded in 1988 as an independent research association and is now one of the leading institutes for applied research in the fields of solar thermal energy, low-energy and zero energy buildings as well as in energy efficiency in industry. Besides these energy related topics also sustainable water management is a focus area.


The biorefinery approach aims the highest possible value creation in means of down cycle raw material utilization. Membrane separation processes combine the advantage of material usage of the components by partly selective separation mechanisms with energy efficiency measures. Of great interest are emerging membrane processes such as forward osmosis (FO), membrane distillation (MD), pervaporation (PV) and liquid membrane permeation (LMP). In this project particular attention is paid to MD and LMP for the treatment of different process streams.

Overarching goal of the project IEA IETS TCP Annex 17 is to ensure the optimized use of lignocellulose material in a biorefinery concept by energy- and cost-efficient separation technologies. The pulp- and paper industry serves as backbone in the biorefinery approach, not only because of the usage of wood as feedstock but because of high production volumes. In Austria, this industrial sector belongs to the energy-intensive industries; it is second in the rankings of the final energy consumption.


In this master thesis a comparative study of different membrane processes that can be applied in biorefineries shall be conducted. As a first step a literature study will be done, in respect to conventional and innovative technologies as well as promising waste or process water streams in biorefineries. Additionally lab studies in the fully equipped membrane distillation laboratory at AEE INTEC in Gleisdorf shall be conducted with one of the promising streams, for either concentrating or separating valuable resources. In the beginning stable and reproducible operating conditions shall be ensured. Monitoring and evaluation of performance parameters such as mass flux (kg/h) and concentrations (mg/l) will be performed. Results shall be integrated into a database for further calculations with existing EES model.

The master thesis shall include a rating matrix of the studied membrane technologies in the respective streams, thereby helping to develop guidelines for the use of emerging membrane separation technologies in biorefineries based on a waste/process water streams from the paper and pulp factory.

Wir request…

Paid Thesis, Thesis written in English or German
Solution-oriented, creative, independent and reliable operation-mode
Desirable: Knowledge of mass and energy balances, knowledge of process engineering, knowledge of practical lab work

We offer...

  • Paid thesis, integration into ongoing project
  • Start: now on
  • Duration: 6 month
  • Location: AEE INTEC (Gleisdorf)


Judith Buchmaier
Department Industrial Procezzs and Energy Systems
AEE - Institut für Nachhaltige Technologien
A-8200 Gleisdorf, Feldgasse 19, Austria
Phone: +43 (0)3112 5886-452, Fax: DW 18
Email: j.buchmaier@aee.at

Christoph Brunner
Head of Department Industrial Procezzs and Energy Systems
AEE - Institut für Nachhaltige Technologien
A-8200 Gleisdorf, Feldgasse 19, Austria
Phone: +43 (0)3112 5886-470, Fax: DW 18
Email: c.brunner@aee.at
http://www.aee-intec.at   @AEE_INTEC on Twitter