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.
Srija is hosted in the team of Prof. De Meester at Gent University and will work in a dynamic team of 15-20PhD students 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.
I am Srija Balachandran from India. I completed my undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering at Anna University in Chennai in 2018 and my graduate degree in Chemical Engineering for Energy and Environment at KTH Royal Institute for Technology, Sweden in August 2020.
As a person, I always enjoy the beauty of the nature. With the growing demand for consumer products, there is a more focus on producing, using, and eventually throwing away these products, with very little attention paid towards sustainability. I have realised how human beings have become the dominant forces on earth and became responsible for environmental issues. As a Chemical Engineer, I understood the need for sustainability and ways to extend my support for achieving a sustainable development.
Since my undergraduate studies, I worked on the different areas of sustainability and focussed on developing skills necessary to excel in the research. My passion for research has enabled me to be a part of the Agrefine project and I am sure through this project, I will make a huge contribution in developing efficient downstream processes and creating a positive impact on the society.
Interests: Cooking, music, plants, quality time with family and friends.
My favourite quote: Dream is not that which you see in the sleep, it is something that does not let you sleep (Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam)
My favourite places: Chennai, India and Gothenburg, Sweden.