Engineering Intern FoodE - Fall 2021

About Metabolic and Spectral

Metabolic’s mission is to transition the global economy to a fundamentally sustainable state. We advise governments, businesses, and NGOs on how to adapt to a fast-changing global context. Combining systems thinking and data science, we map and understand local and global systems to assess where to intervene and develop solutions that can dramatically shift how the economy functions. We also worked on the practical implementation of sustainable solutions and prototypes, hence our closed-loop aquaponics farm!

Spectral develops technical solutions that help propel the evolution of smart energy networks. We are involved across the whole grid, whether it’s a community, building, energy farm, neighborhood, or all at the same time! Some areas we focus on include: improving asset efficiency, unlocking the value of energy storage, facilitating demand flexibility, and locally produced renewable energy. All to propel the evolution of smart energy networks and accelerate the global transition towards a 100% renewable, clean energy supply. We believe that one of the most urgent issues is to solve the challenges for providing for our energy needs in a sustainable way.

We are two international and dynamic teams who share an ambition for catalyzing a sustainable future. Based in the Netherlands with an increasingly international reach as a company and research institute, we work at the cutting edge of sustainability initiatives for a broad range of clients and research partners across the Netherlands, Europe, the US, and Asia.

About the position

As an applied technical, mechanical engineering, or mechatronics intern, you work closely with the Metabolic and Spectral teams, and Andrei, the Aquaponics Greenhouse Operator at De Ceuvel. The role revolves around one main function: develop, test and implement a struvite reactor on the farm site. A key challenge to solve for circular farms is to close local nutrient loops for the aquaponics system. Although fish waste is a key fertilizer for the plants, most aquaponics and other urban food systems still rely on additional sources of fertilizers, often from synthetic sources. The nutrients present in urban wastewater flows can be recovered and used as a valuable fertilizer. The struvite reactor is our leading technology to tackle this challenge. A few years ago, a first prototype was developed in close collaboration with the local community, which provides the wastewater flows for nutrient recovery. From this experiment, many lessons were drawn, and the Metabolic Institute is therefore gearing up to build a second generation of the reactor.  The first to two months (Sep/Oct) will be focused on conceptualizing the struvite reactor prototype and creating a blueprint. The following months (Oct-Feb) will be focused on building, testing, and iterating the reactor.

The position lasts for 5-6 months and starts on September 6th, 2021. The internship requires 4 to 5 days of work per week. This internship provides a stipend amounting to €400/month pro-rata (based on 40 hours per week).

Note: This internship is located at the Metabolic Greenhouse at De Ceuvel.


We are looking for someone with…

  • Fluent in English
  • Engaged in a mechanical engineering or related applied technical degree program
  • Strong organizational and communication skills
  • Strong motivation to learn about struvite reactors
  • Able to work independently
  • Hardware construction experience
  • Great team working skills
  • An energetic, solutions-focussed, proactive spirit

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for an internship with Metabolic, the following criteria must be met (non-negotiable):

  • Have a residence permit in the Netherlands (valid for working purposes and the entire duration of the internship)
  • Have a BSN (burgerservicenummer/citizen service number)
  • Preferably based in Amsterdam (Based outside the city is also possible)


To apply, please use this form. You will be asked to upload your CV and copy over a letter of motivation. In case of questions, please feel free to contact us through 

The deadline to apply is August 8th, 2021 at 23:59 CET.