SOWARLA demonstration plant at DLR's Lampoldshausen site. Source: DLR
Solar radiation can be used not only for the production of solar fuels but also for the purification of water. Therefore, the Institute of Solar Research pursues various approaches to using solar energy to reduce pollutants in water. In focus are so-called advanced oxidation processes and in particular photocatalytic processes. Central topics of research and development are scalable reactor technologies, catalysts and their recycling as well as the control and continuity of the processing.
As part of the SOWARLA project, funded by the German Federal Environmental Foundation, the Solar Process Technology department demonstrated the solar wastewater treatment at the DLR Lampoldshausen site together with its partners. The SOWARLA concept is based on a transparent receiver reactor, which allows the direct use of solar radiation for water treatment with photocatalysts or sensitizers. In addition to a modular receiver technology, the required process technology for water treatment was developed on an industrially applicable scale.
The current research on advanced oxidation processes includes the demand-based generation of oxidants, the use of new lamp reactors based on LEDs or mercury-free discharge lamps and the coupling of water purification, or water disposal, with cogeneration of energy carriers and other products.