Reinventing chemical processes.

The ambitious climate goals – 50 percent CO2 reduction by 2030, even 95 percent by 2050 – put a high responsibility on the shoulders of the chemical industry and research and therefore the department of chemical engineering (CE). In other words, this will lead to exciting research challenges. For finding new solutions, UT’s CE department combines the expertise of six strong research groups and a unique infrastructure by including several key expertise. Physical chemistry of interfaces, reactor- and process-design, (electro-, photo-) catalysis, separation including their modelling and further integration are among these expertise and will help with the main research goal of the department of chemical engineering of understanding and developing chemical processes with reduced environmental impact, by both using alternative feedstocks and sources of energy.


Many discussions about sustainability are limited to phasing out fossil fuels, but is much more than that. In a way, the chemical industry has to reinvent itself. By drastically reducing energy consumption, by using new types of bio-based feedstock, by designing new processes for capturing and reuse of CO2 and by searching for new ways of energy storage. CE typically looks at the system as a whole, from analysis on a microscale to processes on an industrial scale. Its research infrastructure includes the MESA+ NanoLab and the unique High Pressure Lab facility.                

This is typically research that can only be done in close collaboration with industry. Partners of the CE groups are large companies like Dow Chemical, Shell, AkzoNobel/Nouryon and DSM. Apart from that, the research led to several successful spinoff companies like Procede and Biomass Technology Group.

Equally important is the role the department plays in preparing a young generation for shaping this sustainable future. CE staff is highly involved in teaching within UT’s top-rated Chemical Engineering programs, where the BSc Chemical Engineering and Science was voted Top-Rated Programme Universities Keuzegids 2024.

We are aware of the need for speed in reaching the climate goals. This often means breakthroughs and disruptive solutions, instead of evolutionary development, and we are committed to finding these solutions!


Our department unites a large variety of excellent scientists, inspiring teachers and talented students who each make their own contribution to the research and education in the chemical engineering domain. Meet our people.

Our 6 Research groups

The department of chemical engineering consists of 6 diverse, but synergetic, scientific disciplines:

Catalytic Processes and Materials

The Catalytic Processes and Materials (CPM) group aims at application of fundamental knowledge on molecular reactions and diffusion in/on heterogeneous catalysts for exploration of new catalytic materials, catalytic devices and processes of relevance for industry and society. They focus on activation of stable molecules, catalysis in liquid phase as well as multiphase, e.g. for conversion of bio-based molecules.

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Sustainable Process Technology

The Sustainable Process Technology (SPT) group of the University of Twente works on sustainable processes such as biomass conversions, CO2 capture and utilization, water cleaning, electricity storage and energy efficient separations. Core disciplines of the group are: reactor engineering, transport phenomena, separations and process design. Experimental research is carried out in a unique high-pressure laboratory in which pilot plants of up to 30 kg/h are constructed and operated. The group has strong connection to industry showing from many bi-lateral projects

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Mesoscale Chemical Systems

Mesoscale Chemical Systems' research is defined by their unique expertise in micro- and nanofabrication and aims at structuring materials in three dimensions down to the nanometer scale, managing fluids at the mesoscale, and engineering complex microsystems with integrated functionality, for instance with applications in solar hydrogen, industrial and environmental analytical chemistry and medical diagnostics.

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PhotoCatalytic Synthesis

The PhotoCatalytic Synthesis (PCS) groups wants to develop innovative materials and concepts for photo- and electrocatalytic reactions with high efficiency. With their research program, PCS focus on the conversion of solar or electrical energy into chemical energy, i.e. to drive thermodynamically uphill reactions such as the conversion of CO2 and the splitting of water.   

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Physics of Complex Fluids

Aiming to understand and to control liquids and their interfaces from molecular to macroscopic scales, the Physics of Complex Fluids (PCF) group research connects fundamental phenomena in static and dynamic wetting, nanofluidics, microfluidic two-phase flow, functional surfaces, chemical reactivity at interfaces to practically relevant applications

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Inorganic Membranes

Research in the Inorganic Membranes (IM) group encompasses macro- as well as micro-scale phenomena in the field of the development of new membrane materials and new synthesis methods. A better fundamental understanding of transport mechanisms in relation to materials microstructure, and the design of membrane processes, membrane reactors and high-temperature electrolysers.

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Our engagement in research and education

Based on our disciplinary strength and scientific excellence our department engages in various initiatives, programs and projects in both teaching and research. The department of chemical engineering contributes to the excellent, multidisciplinary research within scientific institutes such as MESA+, one of the worlds leading research institutes for nanotechnology. Furthermore, education is one of our core tasks. Our people play a strong role in the chemical engineering curriculum. The combination of in-depth expertise and our low-threshold, open culture ensures that we train students to be broad and critical engineers who are ready to face the challenges of the future.

Richard Feynmann

"There is (still) plenty of room at the bottom"

Richard Feynmann
Michael Poliyani

"No inanimate object is ever fully determined by the laws of physics and chemistry."

Michael Poliyani
Peter Atkins | Loretta Jones

“If the elements are the alphabets of chemistry, then the compounds are its plays, its poems, and its novels.”

Peter Atkins | Loretta Jones