Study of the optimization potential by Advanced Process Modelling of membrane water and wastewater treatment processes.

Type: Master project / internship

Context of the work:
This master project will be part of a global project consisting in developing a state-of-the-art library
of mathematical models for the simulation and optimization of Water and Waste Water Treatment
systems under the gPROMS platform (see

The master project will be coordinated by the start-up BlueWatt Engineering, an EPFL spin-off
currently located at the EPFL Innovation Park (see
The start-up is active in the field of rational use of energy in WWTP, and provides model-based
software tools to plant operators and engineering offices.

Project objectives and planning:
The project will be divided in three major/objectives:
1. To investigate which Process Industries (PI) significantly use membrane-based water
purification / wastewater treatment processes.
2. To select a/some relevant treatment chain/s involving membrane technology associated to
an important PI (or more than one if it applies), and to master it/them.
3. To test the existing model library to represent the process and analyse it. Identify which
specific models need to be developed in order to meaningfully represent and optimize the
process, and the level of detail they require.

Step #1
– E.g. Potable water production (mostly desalination), food industry, pharmaceutical and
chemical industries, mining/minerals processing…
– Objective of the water treatment and importance in respect to the main PI process.
– To estimate of the cost that the water treatment represents over the global costs.

Step #2
– To investigate which membrane technologies are the most adequate/mostly used in every
sort of treatment chain. E.g. MF or UF? What materials? Dead-end or cross-flow? Main global
– To master the selected specific process: quality of the influent/effluent waters (treatment
objectives); main operation decision variables; current decision-making systems (level of
automation, operators’ decisions); link decision variables with global operational cost.

Candidate requirements:
Ideal candidates are required to have:
– Solid bases in process engineering (operation, automation and control, optimisation etc.)
– Modelling experience and water/wastewater treatment knowledge are welcome assets but
not mandatory.

Candidates are required to be autonomous, rigorous and proactive.

BlueWatt Engineering
Marc Pau-Roig (