Type dienstverband:
Internship and graduation project
Bergen op Zoom
Uren per week:
Fulltime – 40

Internship | Production of Bio-Based Molecules

About this position

The chemicals industry produces over 250 billion tons per year, with the products forming the basis of our modern economy, with almost all products we use being influenced by chemicals in one way or another. Currently, these are predominantly derived from fossil sources resulting in significant greenhouse gas emissions, out of line with global efforts to combat climate change and meet international climate targets, such as those set by the Paris Agreement. Additionally, the security of supply of chemicals is a forefront issue, having been acutely exposed by the recent geopolitical developments. Finally, there is a growing demand for sustainability from consumers and brand owners alike, with CO2-footprint reduction a major goal. ​​​​​​​ Biobased chemicals offer a promising solution to these problems. Using locally produced, non-food competitive residues as feedstocks for chemicals, rather than petrochemicals, improves the carbon-footprint while reducing geopolitical dependencies. To this end, TNO has developed platform technologies to efficiently convert non-edible hemicelluloses to a range of interesting biobased-chemicals products for a range of end-used products, based on the platform chemical furfural.

What will be your role?

In this project, you will investigate the conversion of furfural and furfural-derived materials into higher-value, commercially attractive products. Your work will involve screening catalysts and conditions to determine the most promising options and testing the scope of the reaction where relevant. When necessary, new catalysts will be prepared. Theoretical modeling approaches will be applied, followed by experimental validation whenever possible. A key aspect of the development will be interpreting results using various analytical techniques, such as NMR, GC(MS), HPLC(MS), to quantify conversions, identify intermediates and by-products, and better understand the conversions taking place. Throughout the project, you will collaborate with experienced chemists and engineers from the Biorizon team to propose solutions for further improving the processes.

What we expect from you

We expect that you will:

  • be driven to contribute to the realization of a greener chemical industry;
  • be enthusiastic and eager to learn about organic chemistry/catalysis;
  • have an affinity for basic engineering (e.g. simple repairs of machinery);
  • have an understanding of commonly used analytical techniques and interpretation of their outputs;
  • be interested in optimizing reactions for yield and selectivity;
  • have a structured approach to your work, and show a great deal of autonomy;
  • be acutely aware of the safety considerations concerned with working with chemicals and reactors;
  • have a flexible approach to working days/hours;
  • be comfortable communicating in English.

What you'll get in return

You want an internship opportunity on the precursor of your career; an internship 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. Furthermore, we provide:

  • A highly professional, innovative internship environment, within a team of top experts.
  • A suitable internship allowance (615 euro for wo- and hbo-students, 390 euro for mbo-students, for a full-time internship).
  • Possibility of eight hours of free leave per internship month (for a full-time internship).
  • A free membership of Jong TNO, where you can meet other TNO professionals and join several activities, such as sports activities, (work-related) courses or the yearly ski-trip.
  • Use of a laptop.
  • An allowance for travel expenses in case you don’t receive an OV-card.

TNO as an employer

At TNO, we innovate for a healthier, safer and more sustainable life. And for a strong economy. Since 1932, we have been making knowledge and technology available for the common good. We find each other in wonder and ingenuity. We are driven to push boundaries. There is all the space and support for your talent and ambition. You work with people who will challenge you: who inspire you and want to learn from you. Our state-of-the-art facilities are there to realize your vision. What you do at TNO matters: impact makes the difference. Because with every innovation you contribute to tomorrow’s world. Read more about TNO as an employer.

At TNO we encourage an inclusive work environment, where you can be yourself. Whatever your story and whatever unique qualities you bring to the table. It is by combining our unique strengths and perspectives that we are able to develop innovations that make a real difference in society. Want to know more? Read what steps we are taking in the area of diversity and inclusion.

The selection process

After the first CV selection, the application process will be conducted by the concerning department. TNO will provide a suitable internship agreement. If you have any questions about this vacancy, you can contact the contact person mentioned below.

Important to be aware of before applying:

  • Before the start of the internship, the internship agreement from TNO needs to be signed. For students at a college or university based in the Netherlands, TNO uses the UNL-template (supplemented with a number of specific agreements from TNO). For students of foreign and MBO educational institutions, the TNO internship agreement applies. TNO does not sign any other internship agreements.
  • Before the start of the internship, the educational institution will need to confirm in writing that:
    • 1) you are enrolled at the educational institution during the internship, and;
    • 2) the internship takes place as part of the programme of the study.
  • The confirmation of educational institution takes place by signing the UNL template or forms prepared by TNO.
  • Interns at TNO must be in possession of a Dutch residential address at the start of the internship. Performance of internship activities from abroad is not possible.

Has this job opening sparked your interest?

Then we’d like to hear from you! Please contact us for more information about the job or the selection process. To apply, please upload your CV and covering letter using the ‘apply now’ button.