We develop solutions for societal problems, leveraging our broad expertise in chemical engineering, chemistry, physics and materials science. We harness our scientific curiosity to define emerging fundamental questions and educate future leaders in the field of chemical engineering.

To develop solutions to societal problems, our disciplinary strengths in chemical engineering, chemistry and materials science are essential.

To be effective, we join forces in the form of flagship programmes to tackle complex challenges and exploit the advantages of our multidisciplinary department.

The choice of these challenges will be determined by societal needs, industrial support and funding opportunities. We aim to create at least one flagship programme within each of the three societal challenges: Circularity, Energy Transition and Health Engineering.

Energy Transition

Efficient conversion of energy requires fundamental developments in materials science to achieve more efficient solar cells. Intermittent energy sources require the development of new energy storage options. New catalysts and ion exchange membranes are needed for photo- and electrocatalysis.

The fossil-free production of fuel and chemical feedstock at the GW scale implies a complete redesign of the process industry involving the concerted effort of all the core chemical engineering disciplines, in close collaboration with the development of new materials, separation processes, and conversion processes.

Health Engineering

One of the most important current societal challenges is high-quality affordable healthcare. Chemical engineering can play a key role in several of these developments. Examples of this include the study of transport phenomena in the human body (blood flow, e.g.), where the fundamental principles are the same as in chemical processes.

Other areas are the development of devices for medical diagnostics and therapy, for instance in the form of a ‘lab-on-a-chip’ or organ-on-a chip.


Circular chemistry is the future vision of what we do as chemical engineers. Circular processes of chemical products and materials entailing their entire life cycle instead of linear “take-make-use-dispose” will solve problems such a resource scarcity and waste production.

The desire to move towards circular processes requires the design of new reactions and catalysts. New, energy-efficient separation processes need to be developped to recover and valorise valuable resources from what are currently waste streams. Also, materials design needs to be such that at the end of their economic life it allows for easy decomposition into valuable resources that can re-enter circular production streams.


The department of Chemical Engineering is actively involved in the ‘e-Refinery’ and ‘Delft Process Technology Institute’.


Are you interested in a PhD project at the faculty of Applied Sciences, find more information here.