PhD Student Position Biopolymer Based Membranes for (Waste) Water Filtration (4.8)


Particle separation by micro- and ultrafiltration (MF and UF) offers the advantage that 100% separation efficiency can be achieved. However, these membranes are expensive (typically 50-100 €/m2) and suffer from fouling. This project aims at developing an alternative by using a cheap supporting material (e.g. mesh, non-woven fabric, woven filter cloth or ceramic materials) for a biopolymer based layer, which acts as the actual separation layer (also referred to as secondary membrane). 

Research challenge
In this project you will develop an exciting, alternative technology for microfiltration membranes. These membranes have a large potential for wastewater treatment because they can achieve a 100% particle separation efficiency, but are expensive and suffer from fouling. To develop a cheaper alternative, you will produce biopolymers from wastewater from anaerobic as well as from aerobic bioreactors, and use these biopolymers to deposit a gel layer on a porous carrier material. This biopolymer layer will achieve the actual particle separation. You will investigate how to make such a layer, characterize its chemical, mechanical and structural properties, and relate this to short- and long-term filtration performance for synthetic as well as real wastewaters. The performance also will be studied fundamentally in the framework of colloidal interactions.

You can demonstrate and prove a strong affinity with biopolymers, methods to characterise polymers and gels and physical chemistry, and have an MSc degree in polymer physics, chemical engineering, bio-engineering, food-engineering or a related topic. 

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 Advanced water treatment.
The following companies are part of the theme:

  • Evides
  • Heineken
  • Paques
  • Pure Green Technologies
  • Unilever
  • VPWNN (Vereniging van Participanten Waterketen Noord-Nederland)
  • Veco 

Promotors: Rob Lammertink (University of Twente, Membrane Science and Technology), Rijnaarts (WUR, Environmental Technology)

Wetsus supervisors: Hardy Temmink (WUR), Antoine Kemperman (UT) 

For more information please contact Hardy Temmink ( or Antoine Kemperman (

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