PhD position in Electrochemical CO2 reduction

DTU Physics
Monday 04 Mar 19

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Apply no later than 30 March 2019
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This is an open call for a PhD position focusing on the electrochemical CO2reduction to ethylene. This project will be take place at DTU Physics, in close collaboration with Siemens with the focus on catalyst optimization for commercial CO2 electrolysis devices.

The project aims to synthesize electrocatalysts using either wet-chemical or vapour deposition techniques in large quantities (~10 gram scale) and then test them for catalytic activity and selectivity towards ethylene.  One of the primary goals of the project will be to produce nanoparticle catalysts that have a specified crystal facet that is optimal for ethylene production. Thus this project will involve fundamental surface science in order to analyse and optimize the catalyst surface i.e. XPS, ISS and other tools available.  From a catalytic testing standpoint, a gas diffusion electrode type electrolysis device with an in-line gas chromatograph will be used as the main analytical tool but also other methods like NMR will be used.  The project will involve electrochemical reactor design, building and modification to ensure accurate and consistent selectivity.  This means that the project will be very hands on and a wide variety of technical knowledge relating to materials characteristics, programming, gas chromatographs and membrane electrode assembly production will all be needed to allow for accurate testing of the catalysts.  Parameters such as electrical potential, temperature, reactant flow rate, humidity and others will all be varied to monitor catalyst performance.

The project will take place primarily in the Surface Science and Catalysis (SurfCat) section at the Department of Physics at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), but will also involve working with Siemens located at DTU Scion. It is envisioned that the successful candidate will be able to produce catalysts at scalable quantities and test them in an electrochemical device to determine their activity and selectivity at a wide variety of industrial relevant parameters.

The successful candidate will be well-motivated, hardworking, open minded and willing and able to work as part of a team. The candidate should have a Masters degree in Physics, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Material Science or a similar field or will expect to have that degree within the immediate future.  It is mandatory that the candidate has extensive experimental experience working with electrochemical reactions. Experience with analytical tools such as gas chromatography, NMR, and HPLC would be very helpful.  The ideal candidate would have experience with high current density electrochemical reactions (gas diffusion electrodes, >100 mA/cm2) preferably in the CO2reduction field.

Approval and Enrolment
The scholarship for the PhD degree are subject to academic approval, and the candidates will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes of DTU, for example in Mathematics, Physics and Informatics. For information about the general requirements for enrolment and the general planning of the scholarship studies, please see the DTU PhD Guide.  

We offer
DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and academic freedom tempered by responsibility.

Salary and appointment terms
The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed upon with the relevant union. The PhD position is for 3 years and the PhD thesis must be delivered during this period. The position is available from 1 June 2019.

You can read more about career paths at DTU here

Further information
For further information about the research at SurfCat at the Department of Physics at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) please inspect

Should you have any queries regarding the positions, please contact Associate Professor Brian Seger or Professor Ib Chorkendorff  

Your online application must be submitted no later than 30 March 2019 (local time). Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online," fill in the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include: 

  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter (Max one page))
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and Excel spreadsheet here)
  • Names and e-mail addresses or telephone numbers of 2-3 references.
Candidates may apply prior to obtaining their master's degree but cannot begin before having received it.

Applications and enclosures received after the deadline will not be considered.

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

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scientific advice. Our staff of 6,000 advance science and technology to create innovative solutions that meet the demands of society, and our 11,200 students are being educated to address the technological challenges of the future. DTU is an independent academic university collaborating globally with business, industry, government and public agencies.