VITO PhD beurs Bram De Jaegher

With a view on improving the design and operation of electrodialysis stacks for the treatment of bio-based process streams, this PhD project focuses on the development of a mathematical model of the electrodialysis process and associated fouling processes.

Electrodialysis (ED) is a membrane separation technology that uses electric fields and ionexchange membranes to separate charged components in solution. As an alternative for reversed osmosis for the desalination of brackish and seawater, ED is well established. Also the food, chemical and agricultural industry rely on the high efficiency of ED to perform critical separations. In the bio-based industry, the application of ED for up- and downstream processing improved the energy efficiency of the process but the application of this technology is severely hampered by the fouling of membranes and spacers. Several anti-fouling measures have been developed but their application is very empiric, it is difficult to select the right anti-fouling procedures and the design of the ED unit for the process at hand.

In order to overcome this hurdle, this research project will focus on improving the fouling resistance of ED for the treatment of these bio-based process streams. A mathematical model will be developed to encompass all relevant processes leading to fouling of the ion-exchange membranes and spacers. This model will be used to replicate the ED process virtually and innovate the design and operation in-silico, reducing the need for lab experimentation. Finally, new stack designs and anti-fouling procedures will be put into practice for the treatment of bio-based process streams and the performance of these stacks will be compared to the performance of commercial systems.

Project duration: 2017-11-01 - 2021-10-31

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Bram De Jaegher
Department of Applied Mathematics, Biometrics and Process Control
Coupure Links 653
9000 Gent
Tel: 09 264 59 35

Last update: 01 december 2008,

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