3 Research positions, Membrane Materials and Processes (Prof. Kitty Nijmeijer), Eindhoven University of Technology

Postdoc on Electro-osmotic drying of diluted biomass streams (3 years)
This project is part of a large Dutch academic-industrial research program entitled ELECTRIFIED. Its aims is to develop key enabling technologies and consists of multiple PhD and PD research projects. The main objective of this ELECTRIFIED research program is to develop and explore electrically driven dewatering technologies for the food and biobased industry.
Drying alone represents almost 25% of all energy used in the processing industry. Sustainable food and biobased processing can only be realized by replacing our current evaporative dewatering processes by processes using more effective driving forces such as electricity. ELECTRIFIED uses such electric driving forces to extract water from biomaterials. This is done by making use of a combination of molecularly designed electroresponsive hydrogels, well-controlled electro-osmosis and electrohydrodynamic drying in dilute, semi solid and solid regimes.

Postdoc on Deep Removal of CO2 and InnoVative Electrification concepts (2 years)
The TU/e postdoc is involved in the indirect electrochemical regeneration process (Zero-Emissions Ultra-Stripping) developed by Hovyu (Dutch partner). In this concept carbonate and bicarbonate solutions are mixed in a neutralization tank with a weak acid forming the corresponding organic salts and up to 10 bars of CO2. Then the organic salt is treated in an electrochemical cell to generate the hydroxide and acid solutions. The applied organic acids are industrially produced by fermentation and are present in the fermentation broth in the form of organic salts. An electromembrane process is then used to recover and concentrate the organic acid.
The challenge of this PD project is to develop bipolar membranes (BPMs) using sophisticated methods such as electrospinning, that are used for water spitting to produce the acid and base and to optimize the electrochemical cell design in order to minimize the energy demand.

PhD on Developing high-throughput membrane adsorbers via electrospinning for selective PFAS removal (4 years)
Development of a selective membrane adsorber platform to capture selectively components such as PFAS requires: (1) The use of green and sustainable materials: green solvents, (biobased)polymers, functional organic and inorganic additives to enhance affinity and selective adsorption. (2) Control over functionality, specificity, stability and tuning of porosity, pore size and pore size distribution is critical to set the ultimate separation performance, the throughput, flow rates, concentrations, etc. (3) Assembling of developed structures into modules is a challenge, but essential such that ultimately also large-scale applications are within reach.
The proposed approach is centered around electrospinning: a very versatile technology offering the possibility to produce nanofibers together forming very open, highly porous, robust polymer structures with a low flow resistance. When functionalized such hierarchical porous structures are able to selectively bind specific components for e.g. direct capturing of unwanted components or recycle and reuse.