Institute for Sanitary Engineering, Water Quality and Solid Waste Management (ISWA)

Scientists from various engineering and natural science disciplines conduct interdisciplinary research in the fields of urban water management and water recycling, waste management and biological exhaust air purification as well as hydrochemistry and environmental microbiology. The adaptation and optimization of processes and the development of new environmental engineering processes are the focus of interest.

Interdisciplinary research for a better environment

Engineers and natural scientists are engaged in environment-oriented research in the fields of urban water management and water recycling, waste management and biological waste purification as well as hydrochemistry and hydrobiology. The focus is on the development of concepts for environmentally friendly infrastructure measures, research into trace substances and pollutants in the environment and the reduction of resource and energy consumption in urban water, waste water and environmental services. The development and adaptation of process technologies for the optimisation of environmental engineering processes are at the centre of interdisciplinary research based on a holistic engineering and scientific approach to environmental problems.


Fields and Focus of Research

Fields and Focus of Research

  • Modelling, simulation and evaluation of waste management systems and concepts as well as potential assessments including resource management and climate protection aspects
  • Biotechnical processes for waste treatment (composting, fermentation), especially under the approaches of process modelling, process simulation of anaerobic systems, process optimisation and inclusion of regenerative energy generation from waste and renewable raw materials
  • Studies on food waste and development of waste prevention strategies
  • Laser-supported non-contact measurement methods for the determination of surface methane emissions and model-supported freight considerations
  • Stabilization of landfills by in-situ aerobilization
  • Analysis of waste and exhaust air
  • Investigation and evaluation of decentralized waste disposal systems for combined waste water and waste treatment with energy generation (waste water and waste-free processes (e.g. for tourism regions, islands)
  • Infrastructure development in tomorrow's megacities, especially in developing and emerging countries
  • Scientific support for the implementation of sustainable material flow management systems and waste management technologies
  • Recovery of phosphorus from sewage sludge ash by thermo-chemical processes

Fields and Focus of Research

The biodegradation of pollutants

Fundamentals of the biological degradation of environmental pollutants
Isolation, identification and characterization of bacteria with special chemical degradation capabilities
Clarification of the degradation paths for various hydrocarbons, such as halogenated aromatics, ether compounds, branched alkanes, PAHs
Investigation of the bacterial degradation of drug residues
Studies on pollutant degradation under hypersaline conditions
Investigation of biochemistry and genetics of key enzymes of degradative systems, such as mono- and dioxygenases

Applied environmental protection: Exhaust air and waste water treatment

Use of special bacteria in technical plants for the removal of pollutants
Optimization of biological exhaust air purification processes
Development of novel processes and process combinations in environmental technology
Immobilisation of bacteria on various surfaces, e.g. filling material in the exhaust air cleaning system or disk immersion bodies in the waste water treatment system
Biotransformation: recovering recyclable materials

Research on the biosynthesis of recyclable materials

Utilization of biotransformational potentials for the representation of chemically difficult to access compounds
Use of renewable and secondary raw materials for the synthesis of fine chemicals

Fields and Focus of Research

  • the investigation of chemical processes in environmental technical plants 
  • the determination of elimination efficiencies and chemical loads  in sewage treatment plants and other technical plants
  • water and evironmental analysis (determination of summary parameters and individual compounds):
  • organic micropollutants (POPs = persistent organic pollutants): pharmaceutical drugs, hormones, pesticides / biocides, PCB, dioxins, PAHs, flame retardants,...
  • inorganic compounds: nutrients, anions
  • heavy metal and elemental analysis 
  • effect-based analysis (determination of estrogenic/hormonal activity of environmental samples; E-Screen-Assay)
  • investigation of  transformation products and metabolites
  • quality assurance in chemical analysis: proficiency testing, advanced and in-house training
  • biological nitrogen elimination, e.g. in aquacultures
  • biological processes of remediation (CHC elimination)

Fields and Focus of Research

Our research focuses on urban water and wastewater flows and the associated material flows such as particles, nutrients, pollutants and other chemical substances - always with the aim of further improving water protection and resource conservation.

The facilities of the LFKW are an important pillar of the practice-oriented teaching of our institute. Within the framework of Bachelor and Master theses, internships and auxiliary activities for research projects, students have various opportunities to familiarise themselves with plant details and the operation of a highly technical sewage treatment plant.

The LFKW runs under real conditions: Its primary task is the proper treatment of waste water from the Stuttgart-Vaihingen university area and from the Büsnau district, which is produced daily in quantities of around 2,000 cubic metres.

In order to be able to fulfil this task and at the same time offer opportunities for research, the LFKW has a multi-track cleaning system:
All process stages required for waste water treatment consist of at least two parallel units. This means that individual plant components can be used for research on a technical scale independently of the rest of the operation and without adverse effects on the quality of the waste water treatment plant effluent. Additional open spaces on the sewage treatment plant site and a large two-storey test hall are available for research tasks and contract investigations on a semi-technical scale. 

The LFKW also offers its services to specialist companies and municipalities:
From the testing of equipment and processes under practical conditions to the manufacture of laboratory test plants and the leasing of complete test plants for sludge, waste water and exhaust air treatment.


Indo-German-Center for Sustainability - IIT-Madras

The Indo-German-Center for Sustainability (IGCS), which is based on the initiative "A New Passage to India" of the DAAD, supporting this project on behalf of the BMBF, was opened at the IIT Madras in December 2010. The project is coordinated on the German side by RWTH Aachen University. The German side is represented by selected universities (mostly TU 9) with the aim of further developing academic exchange between India and Germany and carrying out joint research activities in the field of sustainability. At IGCS, four main topics are pursued and represented by technical coordinators.

These are

  • Water: Prof. Nicola Fohrer (University of Kiel)
  • Energy: Prof. Frank Behrendt (TU Berlin)
  • Waste Management: Prof. Martin Kranert (University of Stuttgart)
  • Land Use: Prof. Martina Fromhold-Eisebith (RWTH Aachen)

Contact at the University of Stuttgart: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Martin Kranert


Institute Reports

Institute Reports



Institute for Sanitary Engineering, Water Quality and Solid Waste Management, University of Stuttgart

Bandtäle 2, 70569 Stuttgart-Büsnau

To the top of the page