Internship | Modelling of gas-solid interaction in sorption-enhanced reactions



Education type

university (wo)


Internship and graduation project

Hours a week

Fulltime – 40


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What will you be doing?

In power to products processes, excess electricity is industrially converted to hydrogen by electrolysis, and subsequently with carbon dioxide into products. Alternatively flexible processes convert carbon dioxide rich feed, for instance from biomass, to products. Examples are the Sabatier reaction, the direct synthesis of dimethyl ether (DME), or dimethyl carbonate (DMC). These reactions are all equilibrium-limited and the conversion can be enhanced by the in situ removal of water, according to the principle of Le Chatelier. Correspondingly, sorption-enhanced processes have been proposed for these and similar reactions. Reactor models are available for process design and optimisation, yet with limited attention for the intra-particle scale. This has left several experimentally observed issues poorly addressed: (1) description of microscale reaction kinetics and catalysis in sorption-enhanced processes, (2) counter-diffusion effects when switching from regeneration to adsorption mode, and (3) intra-particle mass transfer resistances that appear to change with conditions (e.g. sorbent loading, temperature). In these kind of reactions the phenomenon of co-adsorption is a common one which is implicitly covered under items 2) and 3). A deeper understanding of the microscale transport issues between sorbent and catalytically active sites will assist in better models, thereby improving the understanding of experimental results and a better optimisation of the processes.
In the project, the student will develop reactor models that are sufficiently fast to allow for reactor simulations and optimisation, yet sufficiently accurate to capture observed phenomena on a reactor scale. Based on theoretical considerations, a set of discriminating experiments is to be defined, that can be performed within the project. A tentative planning comprises (modelling and/or experimental parts could be tailored): 
  1.  Literature study;
  2. Model development and definition of discriminating experiments;
  3. Model validation with experimental data;
  4. Implementation of experimental findings in the model;
  5. Reporting.
 In case you are interested or if you have any questions feel free to contact us.

What do we require of you?

  • You have a background knowledge of chemical and process engineering;
  • You have experience programming in Matlab or similar;
  • You are analytical and capable of working autonomously.

What can you expect of your work situation?

TNO is an independent research organisation whose expertise and research make an important contribution to the competitiveness of companies and organisations, to the economy and to the quality of society as a whole. Innovation with purpose is what TNO stands for.

You will be working in Sustainable Process Technology, part of the Biomass & Energy Efficiency department. In close cooperation with industry and academia, ECN part of TNO develops knowledge and technology for energy-efficient innovations in industrial processes in combination with bio-based fuels and chemicals production for the industry and the transport sector.

What can TNO offer you?

You want to work on the precursor of your career; a work placement gives you an opportunity to take a good look at your prospective future employer. TNO goes a step further. It’s not just looking that interests us; you and your knowledge are essential to our innovation. That’s why we attach a great deal of value to your personal and professional development. You will, of course, be properly supervised during your work placement and be given the scope for you to get the best out of yourself. Naturally, we provide suitable work placement compensation.

Has this vacancy sparked your interest?

Then please feel free to apply on this vacancy! For further questions don’t hesitate to contact us.

Contact: Jasper Kampen, van
Phone number: +31 (0)88-86 62175

Note that applications via email and third party applications are not taken into consideration.


Apply now



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