PhD Student Position Chemical-free AOP's for Micropollutant Elimination from Wastewater (4.1)


Traces of pharmaceuticals, personal care compounds, hormones, etc. are increasingly detected in lakes and rivers. The presence of these micropollutants is an emerging threat to human and environmental health. Domestic wastewater is the main entrance point of such micropollutants into the environment. The need of removing these micropollutants from wastewater has been recognized, yet only few wastewater treatment plants have the technology installed to remove these compounds. Wider application of effluent post-treatment will happen only when discharge standards are in place and technologies become more effective.

Among the most effective techniques for micropollutant removal are advanced oxidation processes (AOP’s) such as O3/H2O2, O3/UV, UV/H2O2. Their effectiveness, however, is negatively affected by the presence of background organic carbon, which not only scavenges radicals and absorbs photons but also reacts to produce potentially toxic compounds. The application of UV treatment at low wavelengths (>172nm) would eliminate the need of H2O2 or other chemicals for the production of radicals. Likewise, ultrasound treatment can be a chemical-free alternative AOP. These novel approaches permit a development of an effective, safe and affordable technology to remove micropollutants. 

Research challenge
AOP processes can be brought forward by researching the following novel directions:

  • Chemical free low wavelength UV (with mercury free UV lamps): Process design for removal of micropollutants, extent of mineralization of matrix components and study of product formation.
  • Chemical free ultrasound treatment: effectiveness of treatment in the wastewater matrix and process design for large scale application.

The well-established process of UV/H2O2 will serve as reference technology. UV/chlorine treatment may be included as potentially being most efficient technology. 

We are looking for a candidate with an MSc degree in the field of chemical engineering or similar discipline, with affinity to photo and/or sonochemistry. 

Our offer
Doing a PhD in the Netherlands takes 4 year.
You earn a salary to make a living.
In year 1 the salary is €30.674, in year 4 €39.214 before tax.
The amount of paid holiday days is 35/year. 

The research project is part of the Wetsus research theme Priority Compounds.
The following companies are part of the theme: Trojan Technologies (CA), Anglian Water (UK), and PWN technologies (NL) 

For this project we will look for collaboration with a Dutch or European university.
For more information contact Jan Post ( 

LocationWetsus, Leeuwarden, The Netherlands

Share this PhD
  Share by Email   Print this job   More sharing options
We value your feedback on the quality of our adverts. If you have a comment to make about the overall quality of this advert, or its categorisation then please send us your feedback
Advert information

Type / Role:




* Salary has been converted at the prevailing rate on the date placed