Phd-project: Development of novel durable solid oxide electrolysis cells

Tuesday 19 May 20

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Do you want to contribute to a sustainable future and to do research on the energy technologies of tomorrow? At DTU Energy this is what we do, and we are looking for a new PhD-student.

Motivation and background of the project

In an emission perspective all the sooner we can stop using fossil fuels the better. The Danish climate policy targeting emission reductions of -70 % by 2030 and -100 % by 2050 will require very significant changes to our energy system and resource management in most society sectors. Realising green synthetic fuels for aviation and maritime transport is one of the most challenging tasks in this transition.  Another one is how to cope with increasing mismatch between supply and demand, when solar cells and wind turbines will account for more and more of our electricity production.  This will call for efficient and cost-effective energy storage technologies deployable on large scale. Electrolysis- and fuel cells are likely to become key to this transition enabling synthesis of hydrogen with electricity input.  Of the electrolysis technologies available today the solid oxide electrolysis cell (SOEC) technology has the advantage of being the most efficient, but it is not yet available at multi-MW scale. Operating an SOEC at the so-called thermo-neutral potential is economically beneficial and technologically elegant, as it minimizes the internal mechanical stresses due to thermal gradients. However, at this point of operation the Ni in the electrodes migrates away from the active reaction sites reducing the overall lifetime of the cell.  

Project description, responsibilities and tasks

The objective of this PhD study is to explore alternative electrode materials and construct novel solid oxide electrolysis cells with improved durability and thus increasing the competitiveness of the SOEC technology.


You will be working in a team with a technical staff with a strong expertise in processing of ceramics and in a laboratory well equipped with state-of-the-art equipment for the purpose. The tasks will involve:

  • Synthesis of novel materials
  • Manufacture of electrodes and even full cells with new overall lay-outs including these materials
  • Characterization of the developed cells by electrochemical methods
  • Post-test analysis using advanced microscopy, EDS, XRD.

The project will be a part of the project REFORGE led by Haldor Topsoe and interaction with the industry will also be part of the project.


Candidates should have a two-year master's degree (120 ECTS points) or a degree of equivalent academic level. The degree should be in the field of materials science, electro-chemistry, chemical engineering, physics or similar. The candidate is expected to start no later than August 2020.

We prefer applicants with: 

  • Strong skills in chemistry and electrochemical characterization methods
  • Strong skills in materials synthesis and materials characterization
  • Experience with research and development
  • Interest in conducting a longer research stay outside of  Denmark
  • Ability to work in a multi-disciplinary environment
  • Excellent writing and communication skills in English
Approval and Enrolment

The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval, and the candidate will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes at DTU. For information about our enrolment requirements and the general planning of the PhD study programme, please see the DTU PhD Guide.


The assessment of the applicants will be made by Senior Researcher Henrik Lund Frandsen and Professor Peter Vang Hendriksen.

We offer

DTU is a leading technical university 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 employment 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 period of employment is 3 years.

You can read more about career paths at DTU here
Further information

Further information may be obtained from Senior Researcher Henrik Lund Frandsen ( 

You can read more about DTU Energy on


Please submit your online application no later than 2 June 2020 (23:59 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 out 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)
  • 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)

Applications without a correct translation of grades will not be considered!


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.


At DTU Energy it is our vision to be a world-leading cross-disciplinary research department within sustainable technologies for energy conversion and storage, and to enable a sustainable society through innovative technology development building on fundamental insights.


Technology for people
DTU develops technology for people. With our international elite research and study programmes, we are helping to create a better world and to solve the global challenges formulated in the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Hans Christian Ørsted founded DTU in 1829 with a clear vision to develop and create value using science and engineering to benefit society. That vision lives on today. DTU has 11,500 students and 6,000 employees. We work in an international atmosphere and have an inclusive, evolving, and informal working environment. Our main campus is in Kgs. Lyngby north of Copenhagen and we have campuses in Roskilde and Ballerup and in Sisimiut in Greenland.