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April 4, 2023 News

Internship available: Lactic Acid Recovery by Expanded Bed Chromatography

Would you like to be involved in a groundbreaking research project while gaining chromatography experience and improving your techno-economic evaluation skills? Then this internship is the right opportunity for you. 

XPure Systems is looking for an intern from Delft University of Technology who will work on the development of an expanded bed chromatographic process for an in situ removal of lactic acid from a mixed-culture fermentation broth.

This project will be done in collaboration with an industrial partner who produces lactic acid using a wild-type consortium of microorganisms. As high product concentration can inhibit the fermentation process by affecting living cells, an in situ product recovery using continuous expanded bed chromatography is evaluated as a downstream process alternative for this application.

Continuous expanded bed chromatography (EBA) is a preparative chromatographic technique which enables purification of compounds of interest from particle-containing streams. In the investigated process, the aim is to couple EBA unit (single- or multi-column) to a live reactor. The reactor content can be continuously transferred to a chromatography unit where the separation of lactic acid will be done continuously based on ion-exchange principles. This is expected to increase recovery and yield of lactic acid and thus improve overall process performance. In addition, since implementing EBA unit enables excluding unit operations like centrifugation, filtration and potentially distillation from the downstream sequence, a reduction in CAPEX and OPEX is expected compared to the existing production process for lactic acid.

As an intern working on this project, you will:

  • Perform proof-of-concept studies on a single-column EBA unit using unclarified fermentation broth
  • Learn about innovative continuous chromatography (SMB) and expanded bed principles
  • Evaluate the business case: perform preliminary techno-economic evaluation to assess the attractiveness of the process and make Go/No-Go decision on readiness to move to the multi-column (SMB) phase.
  • Report findings and conclusions made

Duration of the internship: 3 months (full-time)
Preferred start date: May, 2023.
Starting date is flexible, depending on the availability of student.

We believe this internship will be a very valuable practical experience for Master’s students of Life Science & Technology, Chemical Engineering and Industrial Ecology programs at TU Delft. If interested, please send your CV and motivation letter to

For more information, please visit