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The follow-up project to ERWAS, RIAS – "Resource-saving and integrated activated carbon production in wastewater treatment plants for the elimination of trace substances," has been funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) since November 1, 2019 for a three-year period. The aim of the RIAS project is to extract organic substances from raw wastewater by screening, to convert them into resource-saving activated carbon, RAC for short, and then to use them in this form for the elimination of trace substances in municipal wastewater treatment plants.

The underlying concept of the RIAS project is to mechanically pre-treat municipal wastewater at wastewater treatment plants by means of wastewater screening instead of using a primary clarifier, as is usually the case. The pre-treatment is optimized by using different screen mesh widths with regard to the recovery of screenings.

In this way it is possible to build on the findings of the ERWAS project E-Treater. In the further course of the project, the screenings are thermally treated with the hydrothermal carbonization process, in short HTC, or pyrolysis, then pelletized and finally activated in a rotary kiln. In addition, untreated, pelletized screenings are also directly activated.

The RAC produced in this way will be characterized in the further course of the project with regard to its performance for the elimination of trace substances and compared with conventional activated carbon. The aim is to determine the most suitable process combinations and best process settings for the conversion of the screenings into a resource-saving activated carbon optimized for the elimination of trace substances.

Furthermore, the RAK produced is considered in the project under economical as well as ecological aspects, and the self-sufficiency of wastewater treatment plants is evaluated with regard to the production and application of RAC for the elimination of trace substances.


Information about the RIAS Research Project

Funding agency

Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)


November 2019 to October 2022

Project Manager

Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil. Thomas Wintgens

Project Team

Julian Firk M.Sc.
Peter Schleiffer M.Sc.

Project Partners

Institut für Siedlungswasserwirtschaft der RWTH Aachen
Fachgebiet Konversionstechnologien nachwachsender Rohstoffe der Universität Hohenheim
Institut für Energietechnik und Sicherheit des Karlsruher Institut für Technologie
Glatt Ingenieurtechnik GmbH
HTCycle AG

RIAS Website