You will be working for the research group Biobased Resources & Energy within the center of expertise MNEXT – Material and Energy Transition. MNEXT is powered by the Avans and HZ Universities of Applied Sciences and helps businesses achieve their biobased goals by working with them to modernize higher professional education and to carry out applied research that makes a difference. The Biobased Resource & Energy research group is focused on valorizing residual streams from nature, agriculture or industrial sources, and the production and use of biobased energy.

Assignment description

In the context of the current transition towards a circular economy, the valorization of residual agricultural streams is a fundamental part in increasing the sustainability of crop production and achieving a full biorefinery concept. The production of PHA bioplastics from VFAs has already been proven to be possible and current studies focus on creating feasible options for a large-scale system.

In this project, different residual streams from agriculture and food production will be screened for their applicability as a feedstock in the production of volatile fatty acids (VFAs), the main precursors for PHA production. Tests will be performed to identify which membrane technology (Reverse Osmosis, Microfiltration, Ultrafiltration or Nanofiltration) has a higher quality and yield of separation. Different processing conditions will be investigated and the most promising filtration technique will be selected.

Methods consist of using Armfield FT17 Cross Filtration unit to test different membranes, ion spectroscopy (IC) for the VFA composition.

Desirable skills/qualities of the student

If you have experience with membrane theory or have an open and curious mind, you are in the right place. Bachelor students with a suitable background are welcome to apply.

Working language: English, some researchers speak Dutch.

Starting date & compensation

The proposed starting date is the start of September 2024 until February 2025.

The student will get an internship fee of €350,- per month.


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