Product Substitution.

Carbolxylic (i.e LA) acids have a huge market potential, in which different purities can be tolerated, but they are ‘commodity’ products with relatively low prices. It is known that for many biorefinery options, the downstream processing can easily contribute to over 60% of production cost. The same holds for carboxylic acid purification. This ESR will focus on the development and optimisation of downstream processes for carboxylic acids. It includes both common techniques (extraction, distillation,…), as well as more innovative options (membranes, pervaporation, ion exchange, …). The goal is to outweigh these options. This will be done both experimentally as well as by (ASPEN) simulations to mimic industrial scale processes. A strong interplay is foreseen with the expected application: there is a need to balance product quality/purity and purification cost in order to find a suitable market in which the products can replace fossil-based products. Small application tests might thus also be foreseen.

The successful candidate will be hosted in the team of Prof. De Meester at Gent University and will end up in a dynamic team of 15-20PhDs working on purification processes, with extensive experience in chemical engineering and a team dedicated to ASPEN simulations. Furthermore, the lab is equipped with pilot scale separation processes (1-40L) that can be used in this project. Two secondments are foreseen at Samtech Extraktionstechnik GmbH and Clean Energy Solutions (both located in Austria).

The successful candidate will be hosted in the team of Prof. De Meester at Gent University and will end up in a dynamic team of 15-20PhDs working on purification processes, with extensive experience in chemical engineering and a team dedicated to ASPEN simulations. Furthermore, the lab is equipped with pilot scale separation processes (1-40L) that can be used in this project. Two secondments are foreseen.

Relevant disciplines: To fulfil this role the candidate must have achieved a Master level degree in a discipline with important focus on Chemical- or process-engineering or bio-engineering. Knowledge of ASPEN is a plus. Being strong experimentally is also a plus (being able to operate pilot equipment). Social skills are equally important.

Researchers must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Belgium for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the recruitment date.