Biobased Materials graduate wins Menno Knetsch Master Thesis Award

(07-11-2019) Erasmus+ student Julian Engelhardt wins Menno Knetsch Thesis Award at Maastricht University.

The Menno Knetsch Master Thesis Award was handed out to Julian Engelhardt at Maastricht University. Engelhardt received this award for his research on converting wood waste into high performance materials, i.e. lignin-derived mesoporous carbon materials for adsorption applications. Julian performed his master thesis as an Erasmus+ student during stays in several groups of GREEN-CHEM partners UGent and Maastricht University.




Julian Engelhardt won the Menno Knetsch Master Thesis Award this summer at Maastricht University. The goal of his thesis, titled “A Novel Approach for Designing Lignin Derived Mesoporous Carbon Materials for Adsorption Applications” was to convert wood waste into high performance materials.

 “To obtain the mesoporous carbons, I used Claisen rearrangement to obtain a cross-linked network and a soft templating method using evaporation-induced self-assembly (EISA)”, says Julian. “After carbonization this resulted in mesoporous materials. We also showed how tunable the material characteristics are depending on the surfactant and carbonization conditions.” Carbonization at different temperatures showed some interesting properties for use as a humic acid adsorbent. This work is one of the examples of lignin use in added-value applications, such as adsorbents for water purification. “The sponge-like structure is capable of adsorbing organic matter such as oil and other pollutants from water”, concludes Julian.

 The prize is a cheque of € 500, which is made available by the Aachen-Maastricht Institute for Biobased Materials (AMIBM). The award is handed out yearly during the graduation ceremony of the master’s programme in Biobased Materials.

 Julian performed his master thesis as an Erasmus+ student during stays in the groups of GREEN-CHEM network partners led by prof. Katrien Bernaerts (Maastricht University, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Biobased Materials), prof. An Verberckmoes and prof. Jeriffa De Clercq (Ghent University, Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, INCAT research group).