method-property relationships for biobased membranes

Type of Project: MSc Thesis / Internship project
Starting date: November 2023, a later starting time is possible
Duration: > 6 months (could be discussed)
Location: Wetsus – European center of excellence for sustainable water technology (Leeuwarden, Netherlands)

There are a few possibilities for allowances:
–The allowance for students is €200. The student can apply for ‘Wetsus Grant’ allowance (€200 extra; an internal committee decides if the allowance will be granted).
– Students can apply for Erasmus; (if the Erasmus grant is less than €400, the student can apply for the Wetsus Grant).

*The Wetsus Grant allowance is not guaranteed and must be approved by the Grant Committee.

Project description

Membrane technologies are well-established, with small footprint, ease of use, and low energy consumption. However, current fabrication processes typically require toxic solvents and petrol-based polymeric materials. These current production methods and materials have risks of negative environmental and health impacts. A transition to realize societal benefits in a circular economy necessitates the development of more sustainable and environmentally friendly production methods and materials for membrane technologies.

Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs), defining a family of bio-polymers, may be one alternative class of naturally occurring materials for membrane applications. PHAs can be produced inherently by bacteria coming from wastewater treatment processes. These polymers are completely biodegradable and biobased. Research undertaken for PHA- based membrane, film, and coating applications shows promising results. However, developments are still at an early stage. Ways for systematic control of the polymer properties coupled with innovations for quality control in the polymer and membrane production process need further attention. Such advancements in quality control, potentially impacting membrane properties and performance, are still largely unexplored.

This project focuses on material characterization and membrane formulation at a laboratory scale. The objective is to investigate the coupling between the formation process and the resulting membrane properties.

Your profile

  • A MSc student in chemical engineering, polymer science, materials science, or similar.
  • Established hands-on laboratory and instrument analytical experience would be a plus.
  • Highly motivated, enthusiastic, and keen to
  • Good communication skills in
  • Currently studying in the Netherlands or has citizenship from an EU country.


Your benefit

  • Contribute to green solutions for membrane
  • Collaborative interaction within a dynamic multidisciplinary, multinational research team.

Please upload your CV and motivation letter below. You can leave a message for the PhD researcher in the message box.