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Prof. Dr.-Ing. André Paul Lerch


Research interests

With the defined research profiles:

  • Membrane processes in water and waste water treatment
  • Simulation of treatment processes, especially by Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD),
  • (Industrial) water management in the context of Integrated Water and Resource Management (IWRM).

the Chair of Process Engineering Hydro Systems is facing the challenge of the development and optimisation of innovate processes to treat water and waste water in the context of an industrial and academic research.

Innovative processes, from our perspective, must target sustainable utilization of the used water resources, process integrated water recycling, retain reusable materials, recycle raw materials by the generally efficient use of water, resources and energy. The Chair of Process Engineering Hydro Systems takes this into account as stated by its research profile areas that ideally complement each other in context of IWRM.

Especially membrane technology has become a key technology. In many respects, membrane processes are already state-of-the-art technologies and implemented on an industrial scale in municipal and industrial water and waste water treatment. In knowledge of the latest national and international research topics it is apparent, however, that there is a need for further development to make technologies more  efficient and selective. The research and development of innovative processes will thus continue to be dominated by membrane processes and their hybrid systems. In general, membrane processes are a core competence at the Chair of Process Engineering Hydro Systems. They will be processed nationally and internationally within the framework of research projects. The research fields in this area can be divided into the following three directions:

  • Treatment of drinking and process water as well as (industrial) waste water for water reuse with focus on possible conventional membrane and membrane hybrid processes such as activated carbon/membrane filtration, oxidation/membrane filtration and membrane bioreactors (MBR), but also (modified) nanofiltration and reverse osmosis for the advanced treatment of raw waters containing anthropogenic pollutants;
  • Treatment of specific raw and waste water with innovative process approaches such as (pressure assisted) forward osmosis, membrane destillation or capacitive membrane-deionisation;
  • Treatment of membrane concentrates to increase the yield, to recover reusable materials, to minimise pollution and to recycle water.

Research always aims on a progress in process understanding, which can be demonstrated through numerical modelling in an outstanding way. In simulations, real systems can be analysed and experiments can be conducted by models, obtaining information of the system itself. Therefore, CFD is a particularly useful and complementary tool for conceptual studies of plant design, for detailed product development, for new designs and for the optimisation of existing processes as well as for the depiction of problem-solving solutions in the field of hydro process engineering. Beyond that, it can be used to describe and analyse microscopic processes at the phase boundaries too. Thus, fundamental as well as practical research and development projects can be optimally complemented in connection with membrane processes and in the context of IWRM to contribute to a better process understanding or to an optimised process technology. For that reason, the Chair of Process Engineering Hydro Systems is establishing its expertise in the area of flow simulation in its research profile and aligns it especially to the needs of industrial water and waste water treatment.


The development and optimization of innovative processes is of particular importance in industrial and academic research and development. Especially in times of increased water stress and local water deficiency in drinking water treatment as well as resource protection and recycling, water reuse and circular economy in industrial processes. Thus, development and optimisation of innovative processes is of particular importance in research and education and will be addressed by the new chair. 

Thus, development and optimisation of innovative processes is of particular importance in research and education and will be addressed by the new chair.

We would like to use our recognised competence in chemical-physical water treatment processes with focus on membrane and hybrid membrane processes in order to actively establish and expand membrane processes as one focus.

Another key aspect will be the use of new methods such as computational fluid dynamics (CFD). This applies not only to the simulation of flowing or stationary fluids and multi-phase systems, but also to the description of mass conversions and reaction processes and their coupling among each other. It is a promising field of ​​activity for future engineers, since the use of computer-aided applications is growing rapidly and there is a very high demand in the economy. Consequently, the chair provides training in the use of commercial software for the application and, in particular, interpretation of CFD methods in water management processes.

External positions

Fellow, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Membrantechnik e. V. (DGMT)

Fellow, Deutsche Vereinigung des Gas- und Wasserfaches e. V. – Technisch-wissenschaftlicher Verein (DVGW)

Fellow, Deutsche Vereinigung für Wasserwirtschaft, Abwasser und Abfall e. V. (DWA)

Fellow, European Membrane Society (EMS)

Fellow, International Water Association (IWA)

Fellow, Verein Deutscher Ingenieure

Identification Numbers

ORCID Orcid 0000-0002-6355-9122
Scopus author ID 6602112816

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