PhD students

Raúl Alfonso Bahamonde Soria

Raúl Bahamonde Soria graduated as a chemist at the Central University of Ecuador (UCE-Ecuador). Later, he obtained a master degree in Chemical Sciences at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (México), where he discovered the potential of microbial fuel cells (MFC). He started his research on renewable energies at the UCE in order to investigate and propose new MFCs with recycled and low cost materials. Currently, he is performing his doctoral studies at the Université catholique de Louvain (Belgium) under the supervision of Prof. Patricia Luis, aiming at the development of new hybrid systems for the decontamination of textile wastewater, coupling the MFC's with membrane filtration systems and photocatalytic reactors (advanced oxidation processes).

Cristhian Molina Fernandez

Cristhian Molina Fernández started his studies in Chemical Engineering in 2011 at the Universidad de Granada (Spain). In 2018, he obtained a master degree in Chemical Engineering and Material Science at UCLouvain (Belgium). During his academic studies, he developed a deep interest in three main areas: chemical engineering, biotechnology and environmental engineering. That is why in 2018 he decided to start a PhD with Prof. Patricia Luis in a research project involving those fields. His PhD is going to be dedicated to the study of CO2 recovery from flue gases using membranes in which enzymes are immobilized thanks to the use of ionic liquids.

Mar Garcia Alvarez

Mar Garcia was graduated as mechanical engineer at the National Polytechnic Institute (Mexico). She worked for two years at the oil and gas industry where she became aware of the environmental effects of activities based on the use of fossil fuel. Then she decided to continue her career in an environmental subject and she was awarded with a scholarship from the National Council of Science and Technology of Mexico (CONACYT) to study a Master degree in Environmental Sciences and Management at the Université catholique de Louvain (Belgium). During her master program she gain interest towards specific subjects such as climate change, environmental pollution and remediation solutions. Therefore, she decided to start her doctoral studies under the supervision of Prof. Patricia Luis at UCL. The overall objective of the PhD is the capture of CO2 from flue gases using membrane technology and bio-enzymes as catalysts by mimicking nature to convert CO2 into valuable chemicals. 

Pengrui Jin

Pengrui Jin obtained the master degree in Environmental Science and Engineering in 2018, at Chongqing University (China). His master thesis was entitled ‘Hollow fiber membrane contactor for CO2 capture’. Since October 2018, he started his PhD in Chemical Engineering under the supervision of Prof. Bart Van der Bruggen (KULeuven) and Prof. Patricia Luis (UCLouvain). His research interests include the structure and properties of functional materials, including the design and fabrication of functional materials with covalent organic framework, metallic organic framework and carbon nanomaterials, through interfacial polymerization, in-situ polymerization and layer-by-layer assembly, for environmental applications. Specifically, he is working on the design and fabrication of membranes for molecular-level separations in nanofiltration, forward osmosis, desalination and gas separation.

  Wuhib Zeine Ousman

Wuhib Zeine Ousman obtained his bachelor degree in Environmental Health Science from Jimma University, one of the government Universities in Ethiopia. Then, he became academic staff in the same university. After two years, he got the Netherlands Universities Foundation for International Cooperation (NUFFIC) scholarship to study masters degree in Environmental science at UNESCO-IHE Delft Institute for Water Education, The Netherlands. During his master study he got adequate knowledge and skill in the area of water and waste management, climate change and environmental pollution and control. After completing his master’s studies, he returned back to his former employer, Jimma University and he has been working as academic staff in the department of Environmental Health Science and Technology. He teaches different environmental science courses, advising students’ research projects and involved in other extracurricular activities. Besides, he attended different national and international short-term trainings on water, sanitation and waste management. Currently, he is performing his doctoral studies at UCLouvain and Jimma University under the supervision of Prof. Patricia Luis and Prof. Esayas Alemayehu, aiming at the development of new hybrid systems for fluoride remediation from drinking water sources in the rift valley.

Vida Sang Sefidi

Vida Sang Sefidi graduated in chemical engineering-process design engineering at Azad University in Tehran in 2016. During her Master studies, she became interested in the in the green energies and activities related to the reduction of emission of greenhouse gases. She did her master thesis on the production of hydrogen. In 2018, she decided to start her Ph.D. thesis on the subject of CO2 capture under the supervision of Prof. Patricia Luis at UCLouvain. The main objective of her research work is the capture and recovery of CO2 by using membrane technology and amino acid solvents in order to convert CO2 into a valuable end product for further use in industry.

Marie-Charlotte Sparenberg

Marie-Charlotte Sparenberg graduated in 2018 in Chemical and Material Science Engineering at UCLouvain (Belgium). She chose the option "Chemical and Environmental Engineering" because she feels really concerned about climate change and wants to actively contribute to the protection of the environment. She is now doing a PhD under the supervision of Prof. Patricia Luis Alconero in the same university. Her research focuses on the development of a new membrane-based system for CO2 capture from flue gases coming from combustion processes. The system mainly involves amino-acids, pressure-driven membranes and membrane contactors and aims at converting CO2 into valuable crystals.

Xiao Xu

Xiao Xu completed his master program in Chemical Engineering at Chongqing University (China). During his master program, he aimed to optimize the production process of a factory in order to increase productivity and efficiency and minimize wastewater discharge. The factory’s wastewater discharge could be reduced through process optimization, but organic solvents in the wastewater were not effectively recovered. In order to improve this situation, Xiao proposed pervaporation for solvent recovery. Pervaporation is an advanced liquid separation technology, possessing high selectivity, efficiency, simplicity, flexibility and cost-effectivity. Xiao started his doctoral program in 2019 under the supervision of Prof. Luis, focusing on the preparation of membranes containing MOFs, COFs or other porous materials for pervaporation of organic mixtures.

Senior scientists, Postdoctoral researchers




Raphaël Janssens, Dr

Raphael Jannsens was graduated as a chemical engineer in 2015 at the Université catholique de Louvain (Belgium). Between his bachelor and master program he spent 12 months travelling on the other side of the globe witnessing the devastating impacts of human activities on various ecosystems: barrier reef, mining on aboriginal lands, seabed pollution related to mass tourism, stress on endangered species, etc. This experience motivated Raphael to carry on his academical education with a master program in sustainable chemical engineering. In 2015 he decided to begin a PhD thesis under the supervision of Prof. Patricia Luis from UCL and in collaboration with Prof. Joao Crespo from iBET (Portugal) and Prof. Mrinal Mandal NITD (India). The aim of the PhD project is to develop an advanced oxidation process able to degrade pharmaceutical compounds used in cancer treatments. The system under study in the UCL laboratories is a photocatalytic membrane reactor in which pollutants encountered in Belgian, Portuguese and Indian hospital wastewaters will be spiked. Additionally to degradation route and toxicological studies, the impact of powering the treatment plant by different renewable energies will be assessed thanks to a life cycle assessment analysis.

Wenqi Li, Dr

Wenqi Li completed his master studies in the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven holding a degree in Materials Engineering and in Chemical Engineering. He developed his research and engineering skills through internships and academic studies. During his master studies, he gained knowledge on membrane processes and wrote a research paper based on the work of his master thesis, with the cooperation of his supervisor (prof. Patricia Luis) and promoter (prof. Bart Van der Bruggen). He was also involved as co-author in a second paper on the development of environmental friendly ink for spray coating of organic photovoltaics, which has been published in the Journal of Advanced Functional Materials. Mr. Li strongly feels that membrane processes and membrane technology are very useful in industrial processes in the present and the future. Thus, after completing his master studies, he started his PhD within the research group led by prof. Patricia Luis at the Université catholique de Louvain. The main objective of the research work is the separation of organic-organic mixtures by using pervaporation in order to achieve a high purity product and a low energy consumption process.

Naïma Sallem, Dr

Naïma Sallem-Idrissi holds a PhD in Materials Sciences from the University of Lille 1 in France in 2008, in collaboration with l’Ecole des Mines de Douai. The theme of her works was to establish the relationships between the mechanical behavior, structural and macromolecular orientation of multilayer films composed of Polyamide 6 and Polyethylene for the food packaging industry. Then, she worked as research assistant at the BSMA institute at UCL on Walloon Region projects concerning reactive extrusion, polymer nanocomposites, polymer from biomass waste. She is now working on Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and studying the environmental impacts of recycling the plastics from residual waste and will be involved in forthcoming project on bio-composites.

Israel Ruiz Salmon, Dr

Israel Ruiz Salmón graduated as Chemical Engineer in 2013 and did a Master Degree in Chemical Engineering “Sustainable Consumption and Production” in 2014, at the University of Cantabria (Spain). Since 1st October 2014, he started his PhD in Science and Technology under the supervision of Patricia Luis at the Université catholique de Louvain (Belgium). The main objective of the thesis is to develop an integrated strategy combining several membrane-based technologies in order to capture CO2 from flue gases from combustion processes. Besides, this scenario also includes the use of membrane distillation/crystallization to obtain a product (i.e.,salts) that can be reused in the industry as raw material (e.g.,ceramic and cement industry). Laboratory work is combined with modelling and simulation from a technical, economic and environmental point of view.