Details of the PhD projects
Reducing nitrogen emissions is an absolute necessity for the Netherlands. About 41% of the nitrogen emissions originate from agriculture, with manure being the largest contributor. Simultaneously, manure streams from e.g. pigs contain large amounts of essential plant nutrients (nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus; N, K, P). For the transition to a circular, sustainable economy, the selective separation and recovery of these nutrients is essential enabling precision fertilization with only animal manure. Current separation methods lack such molecular selectivity at the component level.
The aim of this research is to build host-functionalized polyelectrolyte Layer-by-Layer (LbL) membranes for the selective transport of mobile guest molecules (i.e. the desired nutrients). The first major pillar of the project is the selection and chemical synthesis of the required functional polyelectrolytes. To derive structure-property-performance relationships, the second pillar includes dedicated process performance evaluation of the developed membrane chemistries. This includes fundamental laboratory experiments using ideal solutions with systematically increasing complexity (multicomponent mixtures), but also the testing of the best performing membranes with real pig manure streams and at larger scale (0.1 m2 membrane module area) at the industrial partner sites.
This PhD research is executed within the framework of the NWO-LIFT project ‘No time to waste’. Next to fundamental, academic research, it involves strong collaboration with the associated industrial project partners (Darling Ingredients International, Agrifirm Group, FrieslandCampina, Van Drie Group, Agra-Matic, ForFarmers Nederland).
Membrane Materials and Processes at Eindhoven University of Technology
The research will be conducted at the Membrane Materials and Processes group, Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry at Eindhoven University of Technology in close collaboration with the industrial project partners.
The research group Membrane Materials and Processes (www.tue.nl/mmp) focuses on the design, development, characterization and application of polymer membranes and porous electrodes to control mass transport in sustainable processes. The research combines and integrates materials chemistry, materials engineering and process technology. Application areas are water and energy, with a strong focus on the recovery and reuse of resources, the valorization of waste streams and energy efficiency. ‘Closing cycles’ and ‘value from waste’ are leading themes in the research program. Next to fundamental academic research, application-oriented research in close collaboration with the industry is stimulated.
The Eindhoven University of Technology (www.tue.nl) offers academic education that is driven by fundamental and applied research. We combine scientific curiosity with a hands-on mentality. Our educational philosophy is based on personal attention and room for individual ambitions and talents. Our research meets the highest international standards of quality. We push the limits of science, which puts us at the forefront of rapidly emerging areas of research.
An interview, a scientific presentation and a writing assignment are part of the selection procedure.
Do you recognize yourself in this profile and would you like to know more? Please contact
Prof.dr.ir. Kitty Nijmeijer, d.c.nijmeijer[at]tue.nl, phone: +31 (0)40 247 28 71.
For information concerning employment conditions, click here or contact Sandra van de Weijer, HR-advisor, p.j.v.d.weijer[at]tue.nl.
Further information about the research group Membrane Materials and Processes can be found at www.tue.nl/mmp and more information about Eindhoven University of Technology and the department of Chemical Engineering & Chemistry is available at www.tue.nl.
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