MSCA-Doctoral student in Chemical Engineering on membrane processes for biofuel production, Lund University, Sweden

MSCA-Doctoral student in Chemical Engineering on membrane processes for biofuel production, Lund University, Sweden

Description of the workplace

Lund University was founded in 1666 and is repeatedly ranked among the world’s top universities. The University has around 45 000 students and more than 8 000 staff based in Lund, Helsingborg and Malmö. We are united in our efforts to understand, explain and improve our world and the human condition.

The Department of Process and Life Science Engineering (PLE) covers a wide range of industrially relevant research, including e.g. plant-based meat analogues, carbon capture and formulation and purification of biopharmaceuticals. The Membrane group ( at PLE is the most established Membrane Group in Sweden and has with MemLab – the Industrial membrane process research and development centre – an excellent infrastructure to develop and optimize membrane processes from lab to pilot scale.

Subject description

The project focuses on optimizing downstream processing in biorefineries, specifically targeting biofuel production, e.g. bioethanol and biobutanol. A key strategy involves submerging forward and/or hydrophobic pervaporation membranes directly into the fermenter to facilitate continuous fermentation and enhance the concentration of biofuels/biochemicals. Additionally, inducing vibrations in the membrane bioreactor mitigates fouling on the membrane surface, ensuring sustained effectiveness. The optimization of biofuel production processes aims to achieve maximum yield while minimizing energy demands for subsequent rectification processes. The downstream processing is optimized by consolidating insoluble material removal, product isolation, purification, and pre-concentration into only two operational units, thereby in-creasing overall efficiency. The project also includes techno-economic benchmarking to compare the sustainability and energy demand of the novel hybrid downstream processing concept with current biobutanol and bioethanol production processes, using different substrates as reference points. Anticipated outcomes include the development of an efficient downstream processing concept using biobutanol as a reference system, overcoming current biorefinery challenges, and supporting the potential electrification of biorefinery processing.

The project is part of the Horizon Europe MSCA Doctoral Network Mem-Fast – Membranes as Enablers for Future Biorefineries: from Fabrication to Advanced Separation Technologies.

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