PhD Position Next-gen Adsorbents

Updated: 21 days ago
Deadline: 24 Mar 2024

Organic micropollutants (OMPs), including pharmaceuticals, personal care products, and industrial chemicals, like PFAS, are regularly found in surface water at concentrations above drinking water regulations. While technologies are available to remove OMPs from surface water, these technologies are energy, chemical, and cost intensive. The drinking water sector indicates an urgent need for novel, green solutions for OMP removal. Next-generation adsorbents such as high-silica zeolites, MXenes or β-cyclodextrin promise to be better adsorbents than traditional activated carbon to remove OMPs from water. In contrast to current water treatment technologies these adsorbents are associated with higher efficiency and selectivity for many emerging pollutants.

This PhD is embedded in the recently funded NWO project WaterSmart (Drinking Water Solutions for organic Micropollutants using sustainAble and Robust Treatments). Together with our colleagues from Wageningen University and Research (WUR) and our partners from the Chinese Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences and the Institute of Urban Environment in the Chinese Academy of Sciences our Sino-Dutch collaboration will investigate next-generation adsorbents reactors in combination with existing green drinking water treatment technologies such as riverbank filtration or as a replacement for existing adsorbent reactors.

You will be part of a group of 4 PhD students across our three institutions. While the WUR PhD student is going to be busy enhancing adsorption/biodegradation during soil passage in riverbank systems, you as TUD PhD student will focus on unravelling the adsorption mechanisms of highly mobile and persistent OMPs in next-generation adsorbent reactors, and the regeneration methods for these new adsorbents. On the Chinese side the two PhDs will look into transformation products of OMPs and develop models to predict OMP removal performance across treatment plants.

You will take on the challenge to explore the selectivity of next-generation adsorbents for highly mobile OMPs and adsorbent regeneration.

You will:

  • Design experiments to test adsorbent materials with the goal of understanding adsorption mechanisms for the target pollutants and regeneration methods.
  • Explore laboratory data using statistics and adsorption models to understand underlying trends, explore adsorption mechanisms and predict performance.
  • Investigate sorbent fouling and regeneration in lab experiments but also at existing pilot installations.
  • Hold close feedback loops with the three other PhDs.
  • Travel to China to organize and participate in workshops with our partners.

The position is offered by Dr. Kim Lompe (the promotor is Prof. Dr. Ir. Jan Peter van der Hoek) at TU Delft. Both will provide their specific expertise in adsorption and water treatment.


  • Background in Water Treatment, Environmental Engineering or related field
  • Laboratory skills for conducting experiments and basic water analysis
  • Data analysis skills for statistical analysis and data visualization and willingness to improve these
  • Initiative and engineering spirit to solve problems hands-on
  • Good communication skills to communicate with supervisors and colleagues
  • English Proficiency Test IELTS of 7.0 (scores of at least 6.5 in all sections) or TOEFL of 100 (scores of at least 2.1 for all sections). For more details please check the Graduate Schools Admission Requirements .


  • Experience working with adsorption materials
  • R and python skills
  • Chinese language skills

Doctoral candidates will be offered a 4-year period of employment in principle, but in the form of 2 employment contracts. An initial 1,5 year contract with an official go/no go progress assessment within 15 months. Followed by an additional contract for the remaining 2,5 years assuming everything goes well and performance requirements are met.

Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2770 per month in the first year to € 3539 in the fourth year. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment with an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor. The Doctoral Education Programme is aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills.

The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, discounts on health insurance, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged.

For international applicants, TU Delft has the Coming to Delft Service . This service provides information for new international employees to help you prepare the relocation and to settle in the Netherlands. The Coming to Delft Service offers a Dual Career Programme for partners and they organise events to expand your (social) network.

Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context.

At TU Delft we embrace diversity as one of our core values and we actively engage to be a university where you feel at home and can flourish. We value different perspectives and qualities. We believe this makes our work more innovative, the TU Delft community more vibrant and the world more just. Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale. That is why we invite you to apply. Your application will receive fair consideration.

Challenge. Change. Impact!

The Faculty of Civil Engineering & Geosciences (CEG) is committed to outstanding international research and education in the field of civil engineering, applied earth sciences, traffic and transport, water technology, and delta technology. Our research feeds into our educational programmes and covers societal challenges such as climate change, energy transition, resource availability, urbanisation and clean water. Our research projects are conducted in close cooperation with a wide range of research institutions. CEG is convinced of the importance of open science and supports its scientists in integrating open science in their research practice. The Faculty of CEG comprises 28 research groups in the following seven departments: Materials Mechanics Management & Design, Engineering Structures, Geoscience and Engineering, Geoscience and Remote Sensing, Transport & Planning, Hydraulic Engineering and Water Management.

Click here to go to the website of the Faculty of Civil Engineering & Geosciences.

If you would like more information about this vacancy, please contact Dr. Kim Lompe, Assistant Professor in the Department Water Management, e-mail: [email protected] .

Are you interested in this vacancy? Please apply no later than 24 March 2024 via the application button and upload your motivation and CV.

  • You can apply online. We will not process applications sent by email and/or post.
  • A pre-Employment screening can be part of the selection procedure.
  • Please do not contact us for unsolicited services.

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