Plenary & Keynote Lectures 2023

Prof. Hermann Nirschl

From Digitalisation to Autonomous Processes

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Hermann Nirschl

Institute of Mechanical Process Engineering and Mechanics – Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) / Germany

In recent years, big efforts and investments have been made in the process industry to drive the digitalisation forward. This has led to extensive improvements in the design, the manufacturing and the operation of separation machines and systems. Huge progress has also been made in the field of simulation of the processes, so that now a prediction of the real performance in real time is possible. Therefore, it seems feasible in the near future to realize autonomous processes by means of a closed control loop, where the process models and the insitu measurement technology are coupled with a process control strategy. It is clear that just reduced order models, abstracted from complex simulations, are necessary to have a ‚faster as real time‘ performance which helps to predict the process in the future. Also insitu characterization devices will become more and more important for the realization of a ‚model predictive control‘ strategy. This not only allows an automatic optimization of the target variables, but also helps to ensure a high resource efficiency according to raw materials and energy consumption. The presentation explains the basics of autonomous processes and their implementation in separation devices like centrifuges.

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Prof. Hermann Nirschl studied Food Engineering at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) where he received his Ph.D. and habilitation. After his academic education which also allowed him to extend his research at the University of California in Davis, USA, he was head of Process and Apparatus Engineering for the 3M company. In 2003 he entered the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). His work is deeply involved in particle technology with a special focus on separation techniques, particle characterisation and simulation methods.
Dr. Stickland

Mineral tailings filtration: lessons learnt from wastewater sludge filtration

Dr.-Ing. Anthony Stickland

Dept. of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering – The University of Melbourne / Australia

Mineral ore processing produces tailings at an enormous scale that is increasing with demand and decreasing ore grades. Decreasing ore grades also require additional grinding to liberate valuable minerals, resulting in more fine particles in the tailings. The minerals industry is shifting to dry stacking of tailings to reduce the environmental risk posed by tailings dams. For fine particle suspensions, dry stacking requires high pressure filtration to achieve stackable cake moisture contents, which has the added benefit recovering additional process water. The filter presses required to process tailings at the world’s largest mines push the limits of plate size and minimal handling time to reduce capital and operating costs. However, these behemoths do not solve some of the underlying fundamental problems with filter presses such as batch processing, fixed cavity width, and the use of filter cloths. Cloths need to be regularly cleaned and replaced, becoming waste if they can’t be repurposed or recycled. Novel technologies are required to meet the challenge of economically viable tailings dewatering within a sustainable minerals industry.This presentation will explore some of the challenges of fine particle filtration that face the minerals processing industry. The fine particles reduce both the rate and equilibrium extent of filtration; thus, it is illuminating to explore three lessons learnt from the filtration of wastewater sludges, which are much worse than tailings with respect to compressibility and permeability. Firstly, filtration modelling of sludges shows that optimal use of filtration area and reduction of auxiliary equipment can be achieved using continuous rather than batch filters. Secondly, the filtration path length for a given set of processing conditions and material properties can be very small and will change with material dewaterability. Therefore, thin filter cakes and adjustable operating conditions allow filters to maximise throughput for varying feed, such as when the mineralogy of the ore changes. Lastly, incorporating shear during filtration improves the performance. High-pressure technologies that meet these criteria have the potential to provide the innovation evolution required by the minerals industry. A bonus feature is if the technology doesn’t use filter cloths and thus eliminates this source of complexity, downtime, and waste.

Dr Anthony Stickland is an academic in Chemical Engineering at The University of Melbourne and a Chief Investigator in the Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence for Enabling Eco-Efficient Beneficiation of Minerals. He is Australia’s delegate for the International Delegation on Filtration, and council member of the Australian Society of Rheology. He leads ‘The Sludge Group’, who specialise in suspension rheology and solid-liquid separation with applications across many industries including minerals processing, water and wastewater treatment, pulp-and-paper, bioproducts processing, and algae processing. Dr Stickland has developed novel methods for comprehensive dewaterability characterisation of extremely compressible suspensions, produced process models of filters for compressible suspension, and invented novel filtration technologies.
FILTECH 2021 Conference - Prof. Andrzej Krasinski

The composite filter media for removal of a high-concern contaminants from water

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Andrzej Krasiński

Chair of Integrated Processes Engineering – Warsaw University / Poland

The presentation covers the enhancement of filtration performance by modification of porous media tailored for specific processes of water cleaning. The topic will include methods of filter structure modification by deposition or synthesis of particles on the fibers or granules to obtain a desired added functionality of filtration unit, including antibacterial, photocatalytic or/and adsorption capabilities. The presented applications refer to the cleaning of water from contaminants of recent concern, such as removal of heavy metals, pharmaceutical ingredients and prevention of microorganism colonization. This problem observed commonly in many applications can lead to a rapid clogging of the filter due to bacteria growth and reemission of these microorganisms due to their reentrainment from a biofilm to the outlet. Preventing the bacteria development can also be of a high importance in filters installed to eliminate microplastics, which are prone to bacteria deposition and the formation of biofilm. Other prospective applications like sorption of heavy metals and a novel system of integrated photocatalytic decomposition-sorption of organic pollutants will also be discussed.

Prof. Andrzej Krasiński holds Ph.D. in chemical engineering obtained in 2005 at Faculty of Chemical and Process Engineering of Warsaw University of Technology, and in 2018 the D.Sc. (habilitation) for a comprehensive research on emulsion separation using the coalescence filtration method. Currently he has been employed as Associate Professor at afore mentioned faculty, in Chair of Integrated Processes Engineering (initially in Process Equipment Department). Prof. Andrzej Krasiński is a co-author of more than 40 publications in peer reviewed journals, over 30 conference presentations, and 2 patents. He is an expert of National Center for Research and Development, and past member of IChemE, where he obtained the Chartered Engineer (CEng) status. His research track is related to the separation processes, with focus on the droplets coalescence and separation of gas-liquid and liquid-liquid dispersions, pervaporation and gas cleaning techniques. He has been involved in numerous industrially oriented projects including pyrolysis of wastes, development of filtration products for the automotive industry and for the ammonia plant. Based on past experience his area of expertise covers also aggregation of particles in turbulent
FILTECH 2021 Conference - Prof. Liang Yin Chu

Membrane science and functional materials

Prof. Dr. Liang-Yin Chu

Membrane Science and Functional Materials Group – Sichuan University / China

Functional membranes are playing paramount roles for sustainable development in myriad aspects such as energy, environments, resources and human health. However, the unalterable pore size and surface property of traditional porous membranes restrict their efficient applications. The performances of traditional functional membranes will be weakened upon the unavoidable membrane fouling, and they cannot be applied to the cases where self-regulated permeability and selectivity are required. Inspired by the natural cell membranes with stimuli-responsive channels, artificial stimuli-responsive smart functional membranes are developed by chemically/physically incorporating stimuli-responsive materials as functional gates into traditional porous functional membranes to provide advanced functions and enhanced performances for breaking the bottlenecks of traditional membrane technology. The smart functional membranes, integrating the advantages of traditional porous membrane substrates and smart functional gates, can self-regulate their permeability and selectivity via flexible adjustment of pore sizes and surface properties based on the “open/close” switch of the smart gates in response to environmental stimuli.[1-4] This presentation will introduce the recent development of stimuli-responsive smart functional membranes, including the design strategies and the fabrication strategies that based on introduction of the stimuli-responsive gates after or during membrane formation, the responsive models of versatile stimuli-responsive smart functional membranes, as well as the advanced applications of smart functional membranes for separating chemical/biological substances based on size or affinity, regulating substance concentration in reactors, and controlling release rate of drugs. With the self-regulated membrane performances, smart functional membranes show great power for global sustainable development.

Prof. Dr. Liang-Yin CHU is a Distinguished Professor of Chang Jiang Scholars Program of Chemical Engineering and a Vice President of Sichuan University in Chengdu, China. He became the Director of Sichuan Provincial Key Laboratory for Filtration and Separation in 2001. He was a research fellow at the University of Tokyo (1999-2001) and a visiting scholar at Harvard University (2006-2007), ESPCI ParisTech (2007-2008) and the University of Birmingham (2011). He has authored and co-authored more than 400 articles, 50 patents, 6 books and 16 book chapters. He has received many honors and awards including Natural Science Award issued by the Ministry of Education (2003) and Sichuan Provincial Government (2015), Distinguished Young Scholar issued by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (2008), Distinguished Professor of “Chang Jiang Scholars Program” issued by the Ministry of Education (2009) , Te-Pang Hou Chemical Science and Technology Innovation Award issued by the Chemical Industry and Engineering Society of China (2013), Fellow of Royal Society of Chemistry (2014), and National Technological Invention Award (2018). His teaching and research are focused on filtration and separation technologies, smart membranes, advanced functional materials, and microfluidics.
FILTECH 2021 Conference - Prof. Sergiy Antonyuk

To be announced

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Sergiy Antonyuk

Institute of Particle Process Engineering, Technical University of Kaiserslautern / Germany

With the rapid increase in computing power, numerical simulation is becoming increasingly important for the prediction and description of solid-liquid separation processes. Numerical studies can improve knowledge of complex separation mechanisms and support the model-based optimization of existing and the development of novel separation processes.


The approaches used for the modeling and simulation of solid-liquid flow processes differ in the resolution of the flow and boundary layer, consideration of physical effects, microprocesses and interactions as well as the computational effort. This contribution gives an overview of the different approaches and demonstrates their suitability and challenges for the description of the transport and separation of fine particles by comparing simulations with measurements.


The focus is on the detailed description of the separation of particles from suspensions in complex nonwoven structures or in a filter cake by taking into account micromechanisms and real filter medium microstructure. The particle-particle, particle-fibre and particle-fluid interactions, formation and breakage of aggregates, clogging of pores and the compressibility of particles in the filter cake can show a major influence on the filtration process. For the description of these microprocesses, the particle separation can be simulated with the coupled Discrete Element Method (DEM) and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD). The contacts between particles and fibres are calculated numerically by DEM with force and angular momentum balances, where contact deformation and adhesion as well as drag and viscous forces due to flow obtained with CFD are considered. The kinematics and dynamics of each individual particle and the entire particle collective in the suspension can be obtained. In contrast to other methods, DEM is able to consider such effects as particle size distribution and irregular shape, plastic deformation, friction, rotation, sticking of particles and breakage of agglomerates. The real microstructure of the filter medium can be obtained by computed microtomography and implemented in a 3D model for simulation of particle deposition.


The recent applications of DEM-CFD methods in the field of filtration are presented. The measurement methods for the parameter estimation (mechanical particle properties, friction, restitution coefficient, adhesion) and validation of the DEM-CFD model will be explained with examples of experiments.

Prof. Sergiy Antonyuk is full professor and director of the Institute of Particle Technology at the Technical University of Kaiserslautern, Germany. He studied Process Equipment and Engineering at the Donetsk National Technical University in Ukraine. In 2004 he obtained his first PhD in ecological safety at the National Technical University Kyiv. In 2006 he received his second PhD in Process Engineering at the University of Magdeburg (Germany) and continued his research in particle technology during postdoctoral period in the group of Prof. Jürgen Tomas. In 2008 he moved to Hamburg University of Technology to work as Assistant Professor in the Institute of Solids Process Engineering and Particle Technology (Prof. Stefan Heinrich). Since 2014 he is full professor at the TU Kaiserslautern. His research covers filtration and separation processes in the liquid and air, contact mechanics and breakage dynamics of the particles and agglomerates, flow behavior of powders, surface functionalization, and simulation of multiphase flow using Discrete Element Method, Computational Fluid Dynamics and other numerical methods.