Johannes Vrouwenvelder, Ph.D.


Professor | Center Director

Research Interest

  • Microbiological and process technological aspects of water treatment and transport
  • Biofouling, biofilms, hydraulic biofilm resistance, biological stability, microbial (re)growth.
  • Fouling control of membrane systems (e.g. RO, NF, UF, FO) and cooling towers. 
  • Sensors and tools for (i) early detection and in-situ non-destructive (bio)fouling/biofilm monitoring and characterization and (ii) rapid sensitive microbial water quality monitoring.
  • Numerical modeling of fouling and water treatment system performance.
  • Dynamics of the microbial ecology of (drinking) water distribution systems.​

Selected Publications

  • Life cycle cost of a hybrid forward osmosis - low pressure reverse osmosis (FO-LPRO) system for seawater desalinati... 
    R. Valladares Linares, Z. Li, V.Y. Quintanillz, N. Ghaffour, G.L. Amy, T.O. Leiknes, J.S. ...
    Accepted, Water Research, (2016)
  • Biological stability of drinking water: Controlling factors, methods, and challenges 
    E.I. Prest, F. Hammes, M.C.M. van Loosdrecht, J.S. Vrouwenvelder
    Frontiers in Microbiology, Volume 7, Issue FEB, Article number 45, (2016)
  • Development and characterization of 3D-printed feed spacers for spiral wound membrane systems 
    A. Siddiqui, N.M. Farhat, S.S. Bucs, R. Valladares Linares, C. Picioreanu, J.C. Kruithof, ...
    Water Research, Volume 91, p. 55-67, (2016)
  • Long-Term Bacterial Dynamics in a Full-Scale Drinking Water Distribution System 
    E.I. Prest, D.G. Weissbrodt, F. Hammes, M.C.M. van Loosdrecht, J.S. Vrouwenvelder 
    PLOS One, (2016)
  • Spatial heterogeneity of biofouling under different cross-flow velocities in reverse osmosis membrane systems 
    N.M. Farhat, M. Staal, S.S. Bucs, M.C.M. Van Loosdrecht, J.S. Vrouwenvelder
    Journal of Membrane Science, Volume 520, pp. 964-971, (2016)
  • A systematic approach for the assessment of bacterial growth-controlling factors linked to biological stability of ... 
    E.I. Prest, F. Hammes, S. Kötzsch, M.C.M. van Loosdrecht, J.S. Vrouwenvelder
    Water Science and Technology: Water Supply, Vol. 16, Issue 5, (2016)
  • Temporal changes in extracellular polymeric substances on hydrophobic and hydrophilic membrane surfaces in a submer... 
    G. Matar, G. Gonzalez-Gil, H. Maab, S.P. Nunes, P. Le-Clech, J.S. Vrouwenvelder, P.E. Saik...
    Water Research, Volume 95, p. 27-38, (2016)
  • Early non-destructive biofouling detection and spatial distribution: application of oxygen sensing optodes 
    N.M. Farhat, M. Staal, A. Siddiqui, S.M. Borisov, S.S. Bucs, J.S. Vrouwenvelder
    Water Research, volume 83, 10-20, (2015)
  • Experimental and numerical characterization of the water flow in spacer-filled channels of spiral-wound membranes 
    S.S. Bucs, R. Valladares Linares, J.O. Marston, A.I. Radu, J.S. Vrouwenvelder, C. Piciorea...
    Water Research, Volume 87, 299-310, (2015)
  • Calcium carbonate scaling in seawater desalination by ammonia-carbon dioxide forward osmosis: Mechanism and implica... 
    Z. Li, R. Valladares Linares, S.S. Bucs, C. Aubry, N. Ghaffour, J.S. Vrouwenvelder, G.L. A...
    Journal of Membrane Science 481, 36-43, (2015)


​Ph.D., Biotechnology, Faculty of Applied Sciences, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands, 2009​

Professional Profile

  • ​2016-Present: Professor, KAUST, Saudi Arabia
  • 2013-Present: Professor (0% position), Department of Biotechnology, Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands
  • 2011-2016: Visiting Professor, KAUST, Saudi Arabia​
  • 2006-2013: Associate Professor, Department of Biotechnology, Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands
  • 2006-2016: Research Advisor, Wetsus, Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Water Technology, Leeuwarden, The Netherlands
  • 1993-2006: Researcher, KWR Watercycle Research Institute, Nieuwegein, The Netherlands
  • 1989-1993: Researcher, Department of Biotechnology, Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands

Scientific and Professional Membership

  • ​European Desalination Society
  • International Water Association


  • ​Waternet Watercyclus Innovation Award, 2011​

KAUST Affiliations

  • ​Water Desalination and Reuse Center (WDRC)
  • Division of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Engineering (BESE)​​

Research Interests Keywords

Biofouling Water Treatment Biofilms Transport and distribution Biological stability / regrowth Microbial water quality Membrane fouling Biofilm monitors On-line sensors