Martí-Franquès COFUND Fellowship Programme


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Engineering and Architecture

Supervisor name and surname:

Josep Font Capafons

Supervisor email:

Supervisor short biography

PhD programme:

Nanoscience, Materials and Chemical Engineering

Title of the research project:

Carbon-based catalytic membrane reactors for the treatment of emerging and recalcitrant water contaminants through Fenton-like processes

Description of the research project:

The candidate will participate in a research project that deals with the coupling of membrane technology and advanced oxidation processes. The main objective of the project is to develop and test a new family of carbon-based membrane reactors for the treatment of wastewater containing emergent or recalcitrant organic contaminants, using hydrogen peroxide activated with carbon supported zero valent iron (H2O2/ZVI).

The technologies to be developed are based on the integration of reaction and separation steps through selective ceramic membranes (of nano- or ultrafiltration) used as support for a deposited carbonaceous layer possessing catalytic activity.
In the first phase of the project, the carbon membrane synthesis methodology will be developed in order to obtain a thin carbon layer over the ceramic filtration elements. Starting from a polymeric precursor, the layer will be created by controlled carbonization and the main variables affecting the process will be optimized to get defect-free carbon layers.

In the second project phase, ZVI in form of nanoclusters will be deposited over the carbonaceous layer to impart catalytic activity. The presence of ZVI allows accelerating the Fenton like oxidation as ferrous cations are continuously generated leading both to a higher production of hydroxyl radicals from hydrogen peroxide, and an enhanced destruction rate of contaminants. In addition, the membrane retains high molecular weight organic species –potentially hazardous- providing a major quality of the collected permeate.

Following this idea, the impact of the surface functional groups over the catalytic activity and durability will be explored, as well as the effect of several operation variables on the oxidation of selected model compounds representing important families of emerging contaminants.

Dr. Josep Font:

Gross anual salary:

26443.80 €


Full time

Working hours:

37.5 hours a week

Expected start date:

European union This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 713679