Cluster Director
Bart De Waele


Separation technology (R)evolution – focus on energy efficiency and selectivity in challenging process environments

Projects covering TRL 1 to 7, from technology concept to prototype demonstration in an operational environment

Long Term cluster objective: development of new concepts and materials with a large energy saving potential for industry, targeting a reduction of Separation Power Consumption of 40%. Improve application window of existing separation technologies and develop technology for modular design. This development will evolve via hybrids, to prove new technologies at reduced risk (CAPEX, product quality, …) and get additional advantages as initial debottleneck of process.

• Separation of molecules with similar properties
• Separation of molecules in aggressive solvents
• Removal of trace impurities
• Concentration processes

Current Themes – Budget ±9M€
• Nanofiltration (hybrid membranes, Solvent tolerant NF/RO for aqueous streams, …)
• Affinity Separation (extractive distillation, …)
• Separation of similar compounds from an organic matrix
• (Retrofit) evolutions in distillation
• Case-tailored membrane solutions


“A Vision for the Future of Process Technology”
Chemical process technology is being pushed towards a revolution through changing social context, increased knowledge, and growing availability of alternative energy and materials. Future plants will need to be more flexible than today, both in size and operation.

During 2016, a large group of international specialists linked to the ISPT community discussed how separation technologies can help enable that revolution. The discussions took place with people from academia, large industries, SME’s, and knowledge institutes. Part of the discussions were to determine the technologies needed to match the energy resources of the future whilst anticipating a potential shift to bio-renewable feedstock. In addition, the question was raised how these innovations will be able to reduce the production footprint in every aspect, while keeping the economic feasibility in mind.

The discussions concluded that a limited number of game-changing technological breakthroughs will lead to significant progress for the industry. Examples of these advancements are cost effective scalable separations, improved understanding of liquid interactions, and exploring the full potential of 3D printing for industry, including the potential use of brand new intelligent construction materials. Industry needs to prepare for a shift to flexible plants, that are able to process a mixture of less pure inputs composed of biological and recycled origin, while using electrically powered technologies. This challenge gets an extra dimension because of the variable availability of all these resources. “It is no wonder that for such a change, an integral design and optimization of a production plant rather than its individual processes was considered key by many”, states Bart De Waele, Cluster Director of the Energy Efficient Bulk Liquid Separations programme.

These discussions were summarized in a roadmap, which will serve as a tool to chose the right projects and to focus research efforts in fields with the largest potential. To help act where it matters and when it matters. The ISPT offers a fertile ground to gain knowledge and achieve change, by meeting new partners that will help you undertake new technology development projects with impact.


The individual roadmapsessions were represented in the drawings below: