Netherlands: PhD Position in Chemical (micro) Process Engineering and Flow Chemistry at Eindhoven University of Technology

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Job description

Research of the group Micro Flow Chemistry and Process Technology (SFP)

SFP group aims to perform cutting-edge scientific and technological research in chemical (micro) process engineering and flow chemistry with specific emphasis on developing a suitable process chemistry for micro- and flow reactors. This is achieved via two pillars, one is the use of harsh chemistries (high-T, p, c, tailored solvents and energies) – the chemical intensification – and the other one is a radical change in process design when using flow synthesis – process-design intensification. Both are named Novel Process Windows. Just recently, a part-time chair on Energy Technology was added, dealing with fuel processing in microreactors. The group’s mission is to be among the world’s top academic research groups in the field of microreactors, flow chemistry, process intensification and green engineering. In this way, an eminent contribution to the factories of the Future (of chemical industry) is envisaged. As such endeavours need a holistic approach, cost analysis and life-cycle assessment are used for ex-ante process selection and process evaluation.

Project description

Since the petro-chemical market faces increasing competition and dependency from external sources, and is under considerable cost and ecological pressure, since raw materials become more costly, energy costs rise, customer demands on product quality increase, and society demands a reduction in environmental footprint, and improved sustainability and industrial safety. One solution is to utilize the novel sustainable resources for fuel production such as bio-gas and solid biomass, by no means being competitive to food production but rather utilizing waste material. The BIOGO project funded by the European Union aims to accomplish an integrated, coherent and holistic approach utilizing novel heterogeneous nano-particulate catalysts in petrochemical and fuel syntheses from sustainable resources in conjunction and integrated with the enabling functions of innovative microreactor technology. A multi-disciplinary team from 16 organisations from academia and industry is involved to carry out this ambitious project.


The research task of PhD students will include:

Two PhD positions are open in the BIOGO project.

PhD1 – ‘Catalyst development and kinetic study’ for the conversion of methanol to hydrocarbons’

The main task is to do the kinetic investigations of different catalysts for the reaction system. The reaction system is the synthesis of hydrocarbons from methanol. The  catalysts will be based on ZSM-5 and on magnetic beds, which are supplied by the partners. The investigations need to be carried out in microreactor which need to be operated with an external recycle. The effect of reaction conditions (pressure, temperature, feed composition, etc.) need to be investigated in the absence of external mass transfer limitations. The results need to be transferred to the PhD 2 below as support for the overall system layout and modeling, life cycle assessment and also for the design of the miniplant. The PhD is required to assist the demonstration of scaled-up production process.

PhD2 – ‘System integration and life cycle assessment of BIOGO’s biogas and bio oil processes’

As a first step all the process information for the separate steps will be collected from partners. Then one real-world scheme process needs to be built by applying ASPEN simulations as a first step. In the integration procedure, the heat management of the whole process should be considered, which aims to get the highest efficiency of energy utilization. For the cost analysis, the first step is to collect the cost data of syngas production from traditional resources like natural gas. Based upon this, a cost analysis need to be carried out for the proposed process from biomass to synthesis gas. Finally the cost analysis for the fuel production from syngas will be carried out. The difference of costs from different biomass resources and process routes need to be investigated. A cost assessment will be set up applying the data from the miniplant, which will allow to determine the optimum size of a future decentralized plant set up in a container environment. Based on the energy consumption analysis as well as the experimental data from the partners, the emission inventories need to be collected. An impact assessment will be carried out to calculate the environmental impacts (global warming potential, acidification potential, human toxicity potential etc.). After identifying and weighting influential factors, recommendations on process options will be given based on process benchmarking with regard to sustainability; including to conventional technology. This PhD needs to work closely with the PhD 1 above.

Conditions of employment

Appointment and Salary

The gross monthly salary increases from € 2.042,- in the first year to € 2.612,- in the fourth year. There will be an evaluation after one year. TU/e offers attractive secondary job conditions

Additional information

More information about the project can be obtained with

Dr. Qi Wang,

Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), Department of Chemical Engineering & Chemistry, Laboratory of Micro Flow Chemistry and Process Technology, P.O. Box 513 (Helix, STW 0.21), 5600 MB  Eindhoven, the Netherlands.
Tel. +31 40 247 8290, e-mail:;

Prof.dr. Gunther Kolb

Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), Department of Chemical Engineering & Chemistry, Laboratory of Micro Flow Chemistry and Process Technology, P.O. Box 513 (Helix, STW 1.41), 5600 MB  Eindhoven, the Netherlands.
Tel. +31 40 247 4959, e-mail:;

Prof.dr. Volker Hessel

Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), Department of Chemical Engineering & Chemistry, Laboratory of Micro Flow Chemistry and Process Technology, P.O. Box 513 (Helix, STW 1.45), 5600 MB  Eindhoven, the Netherlands.
Tel. +31 40 247 2973, e-mail:;


Candidates with a M.Sc. degree in chemical engineering, chemistry, process technology, or related disciplines are invited to apply for this position. A background in catalysis, chemical reaction engineering and/or process system engineering is preferred.

Suitable candidates are invited to apply through the ‘apply now’ button on this page and to upload their curriculum vitae, motivation letter (half A4), a list of courses followed (with grades), and the names and details of three references.


You can apply for this vacancy until 30th October.
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