Benjamin Claessens

Maître de Conférences / Associate Professor @ MADIREL, Aix-Marseille Université

I am an associate professor at Aix-Marseille University, working at the MADIREL laboratory. The research in our group focusses on the use of micoroporous materials (zeolites / Metal Organic Frameworks) to improve the separation of chemical mixtures and the removal of contaminants from gas and liquid mixtures.  

On the one hand, we try to understand how molecules behave when trapped in materials containing small pores. On the other hand, we investigate how the extraordinary properties of these materials can be leveraged to develop new separation processes. To do this we use a combination of mathematical modelling and dedicated experimental techniques. 

We are specifically interested in research topics within the context of the energy transition. This includes the recovery and purification of bio-based chemicals (bio-ethanol, bio-butanol, ...) or the capture and storage of CO2.

Does this all sound a bit technical? In a series of blog posts, you can find an easy-going explanation of our research activities. I also regularly participate in outreach activities.

Want to know more? Do not hesitate to contact me.



I will be giving a talk about our work on propane/propylene separations at the French-German adsorption conference


I will be participating to the European Researchers' Night in Marseille - speed-dating with the audience and explaining our research in 8 min. Check out the program here. 


Happy to be appointed as Maître de Conférences at Aix-Marseille University!


I will be giving a talk at the Nerdland Festival! - check out the program here:


I gave a poster presentation about our work on propane / propylene separation at the annual meeting of the GFZ. I also became elected as a member of the board, representing PhD students and post-docs.


I will be presenting our work on adsorbent monoliths and propane/propylene separations at the annual meeting of the French Adsorption Society -


After a though peer review, our work on Maxwell-Stefan theory in organic sovlent nanofitration got published - check it out here/

To recover a freshly made pharmaceutical from its liquid reaction mixture, the mixture is often boiled, requiring a lot of energy. But what if we could recover such a drug using a simple filter? And how do we select a good filter for the wide range of solvents and drugs used and produced? In our recent article, we show that...

Purifying butanol thus requires a huge amount of energy. Scientists, however, developed new materials that work like a sponge. They are capable to adsorb butanol selectively from that soup of waste and bacteria. Results are promising, but the process to remove butanol out of these sponges can still be improved.

In too high concentrations, biobutanol is toxic for our clostridial bacteria. At the end of the process, you have a mixture of bacteria, waste, and butanol. But how do you recover this butanol? To do this, you can boil the mixture very hard, which requires a lot of energy. Developing alternatives is part of my research.

Your keyboard, the steering wheel of your car, the tires of your bicycle ... Nowadays, we produce all our chemical resources for plastics from fossil oil and natural gas. These sources are non-renewable and their exploitation has a large environmental impact. But an alternative exists. Scientists discovered bacteria capable of converting green...