The Particle and Interfacial Technology group (PainT) part of the Department of Green Chemistry and Technology focuses at fundamental research on particle- and surface technologies related to (drinking) water treatment. The research group is subdivided into three research lines focusing on (1) resource recovery & selective separations from aqueous streams, (2) fundamental research on transport phenomena in membrane filtration and ion exchange and (3) process water treatment for industrial processes (e.g. ultrapure water, cooling water and drinking water). Theirambition is to reach the status of a European reference group on drinking- and process water treatment focusing on membrane filtration and ion exchange.
Prof. Emile Cornelissen is a Senior Scientific Researcher at KWR Water Research Institute in the Netherlands and part-time Professor at the Particle and Interfacial Technology Group at the University of Ghent in Belgium (since 2017). He works also as a Visiting Scientist at the Singapore Membrane Technology Centre (SMTC) at the NTU in Singapore (since 2014).
He obtained his Chemical Engineering MSc (1992) and PhD degree (1997) at the University of Twente (the Netherlands). His research topics include membrane fouling and cleaning, rejection of emerging contaminants by pressure and osmotic driven membranes, selective membrane separation techniques and developing innovative membrane based concepts. His role in RUSTICA will be the supervision of a PostDoc and a PhD-student on selective separation of carboxylic acids from N, P and K using electrodialysis.
He published more than 100 papers in well-respected scientific journals (h-factor of 32), co-filed 5 patents and written three book chapters. He received several innovation awards in the field water treatment and membrane filtration.
Dr. Gutierrez obtained his PhD in Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has extensive experience in the field of colloidal/interfacial chemistry. The current research interests of Dr. Gutierrez are mainly focused on Natural Organic Matter (i.e., a ubiquitous and highly heterogeneous mixture of organic compounds of different chemical compositions, structures, and properties) interfacial interactions with membranes and colloids. Two broad scenarios are considered: a) natural aquatic environments, and b) membrane technology. Specific topics include: the impact of OM on fate and transport of (capped) nanomaterials (i.e., silver or MnO2 nanoparticles, micro/nano plastics and fibers) in natural aquifers and membrane-based (waste) water treatment systems; interactions between organic matter and metal oxides and its impact on catalytic oxidation processes (i.e., targeting both ceramic membrane applications and processes in natural water environments). Additionally, the characterization of nanomechanical properties of membranes (ultrafiltration hollow fibers, ionic exchange membranes, dense membranes) and (organic/bio) foulants are of special interest.
Francis Kotoka is currently a Bioscience Engineering PhD student of Ghent University. He attained his Erasmus Mundus MSc. Membrane Engineering degree at University of Montpelier(France), University of Toulouse III(France), University of Chemical Technology( Czech Republic), and Nova University of Lisbon(Portugal) in 2020.
My current research area explores electrodialysis (ED) for selective separation of nutrients (NPK) and carboxylic acids from bio-based streams. This aims at closing the loop of circular economy targetting recovery, and valorization of wastes. The nutrients and carboxylics are key resources for industrial production of chemical products (H3PO4, HNO3, explosives, glasses, cements), biodegradable polymers, and fertilizers. Therefore, our approach in the RUSTICA Project probes electrodialysis together with predictive models for efficient recovery and concentration of such valuable nutrients, and carboxylics, starting form lab scale to pilot scale , and then industrial scale.