PhD: Palm Oil Effluent Opportunities for Poor Local Entrepreneurs

Department/faculty: Civil Engineering and Geosciences
Level: Master degree
Working hours: 38 hours per week
Contract: 4 years
Salary: €2191 to €2801 per month gross

Civil Engineering and Geosciences

The Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences of Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) provides leading international research and education, with innovation and sustainability as central themes. Research and education are closely interwoven and address societal challenges. The Faculty consists of the departments of Transport and Planning, Structural Engineering, Geoscience and Engineering, Water Management, Hydraulic Engineering, and Geoscience and Remote Sensing.

Your position will be within the Sanitary Engineering section in the Department of Water Management, but in close co-operation with industry and the university.  

The research conducted in the Sanitary Engineering section covers the technical, and partly, managerial aspects of the urban water cycle. Most research is conducted in cooperation with practice and often across research units within TU Delft and beyond. There are several ongoing and starting PhD candidates working on topics concerning anaerobic digestion and industrial water reuse.

Job description

The palm oil industry in southeast Asia has a controversial position. It generates millions of jobs, but it is also associated with large-scale deforestation and waste(water). This introduces competitive claims on the available resources for poor local communities, which often do not have access to potable water, energy, or sanitation. The primary goal of the project is to develop anaerobic monodigestion from Empty Fruit Bunches (EFB) and enhance water reuse of Palm Oil Mill Effluent (POME), and to transfer these to local entrepreneurs and households to maximise the energy and water availability of the local community.

You will:
• Visit Malaysian Palm Oil Mill treatment plants and transfer technology to neighbouring countries like Indonesia, Myanmar and Papua New Guinea.
• Explore solar-assisted anaerobic monodigestion
• Redesign current Palm Oil Mill Effluent Treatment and focus on a holistic water reuse approach.


We are looking for an intrinsically motivated person with the following qualifications:
• MSc degree in microbiology, chemistry, water supply, environmental or chemical engineering
• An affinity for anaerobic wastewater technology and international experience are considered an asset.
• Excellent communication skills demonstrated through a written article or thesis, a public presentation or personal blog
• Proficiency in written and spoken English
• Experience with data analysis, laboratory research, experimental design, or biological modelling.   

Conditions of employment

The TU Delft offers an attractive, customisable compensation and benefits package, including a discount for health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. An International Children’s Centre offers day care, before- and after-school care and an international primary school. Dual Career Services offers support to accompanying partners. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.
As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment; an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor; and a Doctoral Education Programme aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills. Please visit for more information.

Information and application

For more information about this position, please contact Ralph Lindeboom, phone: +31 (0)15-2782069, e-mail:
Please include in your application:
(1) Short motivation letter (max. 1 page) covering your research interest and relevant experience.
(2) 1-2 page CV incl. list of publications (if any) and names, e-mail and telephone numbers of two references (unless reference letters are attached).
(3) Copies of academic qualifications.
Please e-mail a detailed CV and a letter of application by 1 May 2017 to Ralph Lindeboom,
When applying for this position, please refer to vacancy number CITG17-01.

Enquiries from agencies are not appreciated.


Civil Engineering and Geosciences
Master degree
Working hours
4 years
€2191 to €2801 per month gross

Closing date
May 1, 2016
Vacancy nr.


For more information about this job, please contact Ralph Lindeboom, Assistant Profressor.

T +31 (0)15-2782069

For more information about the application procedure, please contact Ralph Lindeboom/Water Management.