UROP Project

Process Technologies for Waste Minimization in a Breakthrough Electrochemical Technology



Jan Müller

Program Director UROP


+49 241 80-90299


Key Info

Basic Information

Project Offer-Number:
UROP Abroad
Chemical Engineering
Organisation unit:
Institute of Chemical Process Engineering (AVT.CVT)
Language Skills:
Fluent in English
Professor Wessling


The development of low carbon routes for industrial chemicals remains a major goal of both governmental and industrial research. To date, most of these technologies have focused on alternative materials derived from bio-sourced feedstock. While somewhat successful, alternative routes are needed. Calera Corporation ( www.calera.com ) has developed an alternative route to sodium hydroxide that operates at significantly lower energy and avoids the formation of chlorine (Cl2) byproduct. This technology is currently being tested at pilot scale at Calera’s facility in Moss Landing, CA. This project will evaluate ways to minimize waste production in this process through more efficient recycle operations including absorption and separation technologies.


Evaluate several process options such as packed bed adsorption, osmotic membrane transport, and reactive distillation for waste minimization. In particular, look at opportunities to develop a zero liquid discharge (ZLD) process through a combination of process research, laboratory experiments, computer modeling, and pilot scale testing. The process research will involve understanding the Calera process in detail, evaluating process streams for waste minimization, and gathering knowledge on process unit options. From among those options, lab-scale experiments will be used to calculate fundamental process design parameters that can be used to assess the likely success of each option. Using a process simulation package such as ASPEN+, computer models will be developed to analyze mass, component, and energy balances. These results will be combined into a recommended design package that will then be tested at pilot scale at Calera’s facility in Moss Landing.


The project requires a skilled chemical engineer near the completion of the undergraduate curriculum. The ideal candidate will be a self-motivated person who understands engineering fundamentals and can be proficient with lab scale experiments, computer simulations, and process design. The candidate must be fluent in English.

Full Address

Calera Corporation
485 Alberto Way; Ste 210
CA 95032 Los Gatos
United States of America