Post-doc candidate: synthesis and evaluation of biobased copolymers for gas separation membranes

Updated: about 2 months ago
Deadline: 29 Nov 2021

This project is part of a European BBI (Bio-based industries) consortium with 8 partners from both the public and the private sector. The project team works on “Bio-based copolymers for membrane end products for gas separations (BIOCOMEM)”.

Currently, chemical separations play a major part in energy use in process industry. The processes involved, such as distillation, account for 10–15% of the world's energy consumption. Membrane based separations can be one order of magnitude more energy efficient than heat-driven separations that use distillation but their wider implementation demands materials that have specific functional qualities (permeance and selectivity) for given application. Also, membrane materials are required to have high resistance to contaminants (CO2, H2S, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), O2, NH4, and alkanes) and to process conditions (high pressure 10-80 bar, temperature variations) and to be able to operate for long term (>10 years) with stable performance. In the BIOCOMEM project we will develop biobased gas separation membranes using polyether-block-amide copolymer type chemistry.

The role of the post-doc will be the synthesis and design of biobased copolymer precursors that can be processed into membranes with improved mechanical, thermal and permeation properties. Recycling of the membrane polymers via chemical and enzymatic ways will also be studied.

The candidate will collaborate with researchers at both public and private partners, and based on their feedback, the synthesis work will be tuned. The candidate will also transfer its knowledge to partners responsible for upscaling of the polymers.

The post-doc will be appointed at the Aachen-Maastricht Institute for Biobased Materials of Maastricht University, which is part of the Faculty of Science and Engineering. You will work in the group of Associate Professor Katrien Bernaerts, which focusses on the synthesis and design of polymer materials with tunable properties and recyclability exploiting the functionality of biobased building blocks. You will operate from the Brightlands-Chemelot Campus in Geleen (Nl), where the labs are located.

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