Biological Effluent Treatment

Development of ecologically sound separation processes for the production of high-value textile fibres in Germany (Part 2)

The four pilot plants developed on the pilot scale were successfully deployed in the aerobic and anaerobic treatment of the waste water generated during the retting process in the production tests. Important impetus to industrial-scale developments can be drawn from these experiences. 


Bast fibres, especially hemp and flax fibres, are suitable for diverse applications. The traditional preparation of the fibres is nonetheless at a very outmoded technological level. As a result, the potential of this renewable raw material cannot be adequately realised in technical applications. 

In the context of the research project, an innovative, highly productive retting process was to be developed on the basis of water retting that should, through appropriate production-integrated measures, function in a way that conserves resources and is environmentally sustainable. 

The remit of this sub-project was the development and implementation of pilot plants on the pilot scale for the carrying out of tests for cleaning of actual retting waste water and the associated design and conception of all applicable technical components. 


  • The following facilities were developed and made available: a membrane filtration plant and three biological treatment plants (mixed-loop reactor, fixed-bed reactor and fixed-bed circulation reactor).Ceramic materials were chosen to be the membrane materials. A new principle was deployed in the case of the fixed-bed reactor, in that in addition to the vertical flow components, a horizontal flow-through of the fixed-bed stream is also to be induced, with the help of chicanes. 
  • The technical solutions have demonstrated their reliability in the pilot operations and will also be applied as special procedures in future applications, not only in the textile industry.

Project Participants

Implementing Institution

EnviroChemie GmbH

Cooperation partner

German Institutes for Textile and Fiber Research (DITF)

More Project Informations

Project title:  Development of ecologically sound separation processes for the production of high-value textile fibres in Germany (Part 2)

Project number:  0339887

Project period:  2000 - 2003

Project region:  Germany (Hesse)

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Source: German National Library of Science and Technology Hannover (TIB)