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.