IEA IETS Annex 17: Membrane filtration for energy-efficient separation of lignocellulosic biomass components

The overarching goal of IEA IETS TCP Annex 17 is to strengthen the network of the Austrian membrane and biorefinery landscape.

Short Description

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. The biorefinery approach aims to achieve 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. Emerging membrane processes such as forward osmosis (FO), membrane distillation (MD), pervaporation (PV) and liquid membrane permeation (LMP) are of great interest. In this project particular attention is paid to MD and LMP for the treatment of different process streams. The Austrian contribution within the framework of the subtasks from Annex 17 is to evaluate and optimize membrane technologies as well as develop strategies for the utilization of biomass components.

The technological objective is to achieve maximum dry substance content in the treated process streams, while minimizing fouling by optimally setting the process parameters as well as a suitable cleaning strategy. With the use of membrane separation processes and the integration of industrial waste heat, a sustainable path of the utilization of waste materials/waste streams and the reduction of the water demand is to be demonstrated.

The Austrian contribution develops guidelines for the use of emerging membrane separation technologies in biorefineries based on a waste/process water streams from the paper and pulp factory.

Based on all results, a guideline for the efficient use of membrane technologies as well as concepts for the interconnection of different technologies will be developed. The guideline should especially give stakeholders (research, industry, decision makers) an overview of potentials and starting points for activities concerning the usage of membrane technologies in pulp and paper industry.

Project Images

Terms of use: The pictures listed underneath the header “Project Pictures” originate from the projects in the frame of the programmes City of Tomorrow, Building of Tomorrow and the IEA Research Cooperation. They may be used credited for non-commercial purposes under the Creative Commons License Attribution-NonCommercial (CC BY-NC).


Belgium, Denmark, Austria, Portugal, Sweden

Contact Address

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

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