PhD student on production of bio-based crotonic acid production from wastewater

Job description

We have a PhD position available in the area of bio-based crotonic acid production from wastewater. The research project is embedded in the Sustainable Process Technology group, and carried out in close collaboration and co-supervision by staff from the Materials Science and Technology of Polymers group.

Wastewater treatment installations nowadays mostly produce biogas through fermentation. However, it is also possible to produce volatile fatty acids (VFAs) that can be recovered from their broth and upgraded through additional (bio)chemical and separation steps to eventually yield high value products such as crotonic acid. In this project, we aim to develop this route to enable a waste – to – high value product chain.

Within the process chain, four stages can be identified, of which two will be investigated at the University of Twente in this project, i.e. recovery of VFAs from the broth using an innovative adsorbent, and the final conversion and separation step to obtain the crotonic acid. The work in the project includes the synthesis of a new type of polymeric adsorbent for the VFA recovery, as well as process design of both the adsorption/desorption and the crotonic acid yielding step. This thus requires excellent skills in both polymer synthesis and in chemical engineering.

Your profile

Applicants should hold a MSc degree, or obtain a MSc degree early 2018, and preferably have a background in chemical engineering and a strong affinity with chemistry.
Practical experience in a chemistry laboratory, as well as skills in reactor engineering and separation process design are essential.
Fluency in English is required. An interview will be part of the selection procedure.
The intended starting date is April 1st, 2018.

For more information and application, please contact Dr. ir. Boelo Schuur (associate professor separation technology) ; tel. +31(0)53-4892891.

Applications need to include a one-page motivation letter, a detailed CV (incl. obtained degrees and publications, if any), and contact details of at least 2 references, and must be sent by email.

Our offer

The University of Twente offers a stimulating work environment in an area of applied, forefront research. You will have a full time employment contract for the duration of 4 years and can participate in all employee benefits the University offers. The gross monthly salary starts with € 2.222,- in the first year and increases to € 2.840,- in the fourth year of your employment. Additionally, the University of Twente provides excellent facilities for professional and personal development, a holiday allowance (amount to 8%) and an end of year bonus of 8.3%. A high-quality training programme is part of the agreement. The research has to result in a PhD thesis at the end of the employment period.

The organization

The University of Twente. We stand for life sciences and technology. High tech and human touch. Education and research that matter. New technology which leads change, innovation and progress in society. The University of Twente is the only campus university of the Netherlands; divided over five faculties we provide more than fifty educational programmes. We have a strong focus on personal development and talented researchers are given scope for carrying out groundbreaking research.
We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status or disability status. Because of our diversity values we do particularly support women to apply.
Within the TNW Faculty (Faculty of Science & Technology) of the University of Twente some 700 staff members and 2000 students are involved in training and research on the interface of chemical technology, applied physics and biomedical technology.
Fields of application include sustainable energy, process technology and materials science, nanotechnology and technical medicine. Research, which enjoys a high profile both at home and internationally, has been accommodated in the multidisciplinary research institutes MESA+ and MIRA. The faculty works together intensively with industrial partners and researchers in the Netherlands and abroad and conducts extensive research for external commissioning parties and funders.