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Internship | Production of Bio-Based Molecules

Posted 20 Jul 2024
Work experience
0 to 1 years
Full-time / part-time
Job function
€615 per month
Degree level
Required languages
English (Fluent)
Dutch (Fluent)

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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.

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.

Innovation with purpose: that is what TNO stands for. We develop knowledge not for its own sake, but for practical application. TNO connects people and knowledge to create innovations that boost the competitive strength of industry and the well-being of society in a sustainable way.

Management Consulting
Den Haag
3,300 employees