IEA IETS Annex 17: Membrane processes in biorefineries (Working period 2020 - 2022)

IEA IETS Annex 17 aims at the networking of the Austrian membrane and biorefinery research landscape as well as an intensified exchange with the international consortium from the IETS Annex XVII "Extension - Membrane processes in biorefineries". Optimised raw material utilisation in biorefineries is to be addressed by energy- and cost-efficient membrane technologies. Various emerging membrane processes are evaluated, optimized and integration concepts are developed.

Short Description

IEA IETS Annex 17 aims at enhancing the networking of the Austrian membrane- and biorefinery research landscape as well as on the intensified exchange with the international consortium from the IETS Annex XVII Extension - Membrane processes in biorefineries: Energy- and cost-efficient separation technologies shall ensure an optimised use of raw materials in biorefineries. Within the scope of subtasks A-F, this project evaluates, optimizes and integrates different membrane processes and develops strategies for biomass component utilization. AEE INTEC takes over the Subtask E - Lead dealing with "emerging membrane technologies" (like membrane distillation (MD), forward osmosis (FO), pervaporation (PV), liquid membrane permeation (FMP)). The approach of sustainable utilization of waste materials/waste streams and a reduction of water demand by closing the cycle should be demonstrated by the application of these emerging technologies and the integration of waste heat in biorefineries.

The Austrians Annex focuses mainly on "emerging membrane processes", (being reinforced by the Subtask E - leadership of the same name at international level). The technological objective is to observe long-term behaviour of emerging processes (exemplary for the technologies membrane distillation (AEE INTEC) and membrane extraction (TU Graz)) on selected process streams. Special attention is paid to the aspect of fouling on membranes and based on that the fouling avoidance and cleaning strategies. All findings from literature research and laboratory tests will be used to develop a guideline for the efficient use of membrane separation processes in biorefineries.

The following results are to be developed:

  • Overview of process and wastewater streams in biorefineries
  • Definition of KPIs and comparison of emerging membrane processes versus conventional technologies
  • Insights into membrane fouling and derived operation and cleaning strategy
  • Integration concepts for emerging membrane processes in biorefineries
  • Guideline - Recommendation for the use of emerging membrane processes in long-term behaviour

The aim of the guideline is to provide the relevant actors (from research, industry and decision makers) with a comprehensive overview of potentials and fields of action for the use of emerging membrane separation processes.


Austria, Denmark, Germany, Portugal Sweden, Italy, Netherlands

Contact Address

AEE - Institut für Nachhaltige Technologien (AEE INTEC)
DI Judith Buchmaier
A-8200 Gleisdorf, Feldgasse 19

Technische Universität Graz (TUG)
Institut für Chemische Verfahrenstechnik und Umwelttechnik
Marlene Kienberger
A-8010 Graz, Inffeldgasse 25C