Internship on electrochemical synthesis of value-added chemicals in the biorefinery

Company: MAGNETO special anodes B.V., part of Evoqua Water Technologies

Location: Schiedam, The Netherlands

Duration: minimum 4 months

Supervisor: Dr. ir. Adriaan Jeremiasse


Background of the project

In the biorefinery, biomass can be converted into value-added chemicals, such as monomers for the production of plastics. Conversion processes may be based on biotechnologies or chemical technologies. Within this project, electrochemical conversion of 5-HMF to 2,5-FDCA (building block for PEF plastics) is studied. Electrochemical processes allow operation at mild conditions compared to other heterogeneous chemical processes. Reaction rates and selectivity can be controlled through control of the electrode potential. So far, only a few electrocatalysts have been studied for the conversion of 5-HMF to 2,5 FDCA.

Within this internship, new electrocatalysts will be developed an compared to a benchmark in the conversion of 5-HMF. First, a literature (scientific & patent) study will be performed and an experimental plan will be made. Next, the experimental setup will be built. Results of the experiments will be reported in an internship report and oral presentation. This R&D project is part of the EU H2020 project “TERRA” (, in which MAGNETO closely collaborates with academic partners.

Objectives of the internship

  • To manufacture electrodes with various electrocatalysts
  • To electrochemically characterize these electrocatalysts
  • To design an experiment setup for the electrochemical conversion reaction
  • To quantify the performance (product yield, rate, efficiency) of the electrocatalysts for a specific organic conversion reaction, and compare to a benchmark.
  • To determine the effect of process conditions (electrolyte, pH) on product yield, conversion rates and efficiencies.

The ideal candidate

  • Msc student in the field of chemical technology, chemistry, biotechnology
  • Background and interest in physical chemistry/ electrochemistry and organic chemistry
  • Highly motivated, independent, eager to learn, good reporting skills.