PhD scholarship in Proton Conducting Ceramics for Hydrogen Extraction

Monday 29 Jul 19

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Apply no later than 21 August 2019
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The Department of Energy Conversion and Storage at the Technical University of Denmark invites applicants for a PhD position in proton conducting ceramics for hydrogen extraction.

Our department carries out R&D in sustainable energy conversion technologies for the future energy system, and are among the world’s leaders in research and development of solid oxide fuel cell and electrolysis cell technology. We have excellent facilities and competences for fabrication, testing and characterization of such devices and are around 200 members of staff.


You will be a member of the Solid State Chemistry section counting around 20 members, but will work together also with project-partners from Aalborg University and internationally leading groups in US.


We have recently won support for a new project from the Independent Research Fund Denmark dealing with improved methods to extract hydrogen from a syngas mixture (a mixture of H2 and CO). The overall aim of the project is to design and construct a reformer capable of extracting hydrogen from liquid fuels like methanol or gasoline/diesel. The core technology used in the reformer is based on proton-conducting ceramics (PCCs), which will allow to selectively pump/extract hydrogen from any hydrogen containing gas. The hydrogen will be fed to a PEM fuel cell providing electricity for propulsion. The technology would circumvent existing on-board hydrogen storage challenges and could drastically increase the range of fuel cell powered vehicles like busses and in particular ships.


The knowledge generated in the project on proton conducting ceramic materials and component manufacture will be directly relevant also for high temperature steam splitting. This is expected to become a key technology in transforming our energy system to a fossil free one, due to its pivotal role in providing both means for large-scale energy storage (power2gas-schemes) and a route to sustainable transport fuels. 

Responsibilities and tasks

You will work on developing the manufacturing route and process for shaping full planar cells (areas > 100 cm2). Designs with ultrathin (d~10 mm) electrolyte layers on thicker electrode supports will be targeted. Besides working on the manufacturing, you will characterize the charge transport properties of the materials and the electrochemical performance of the full cells.

Finally, you will, together with other members of the project team, work on designing and manufacturing full stacks, where the manufactured cells are stacked between interconnect plates and suitably sealed. Hence, activities will cover the full range from stack design (using CAD software), material synthesis to assembly and characterization of full functional units.


Candidates should have a two-year master's degree (120 ECTS points) or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to a two-year master's degree.


A Master's degree in chemistry, chemical engineering, materials science, physics or similar is required.

In addition, we look for applicants with: 
  • Strong skills in materials science
  • Experience with and/or a strong interest in ceramic processing
  • Skills in CAD Design (e.g. solid works)
  • Interest in applied research
  • Ability to work in a multi-disciplinary environment
  • Excellent writing and communication skills in English
  • Knowledge on electrochemistry and electrochemical characterization methods is further advantageous
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 Wolff-Ragnar Kiebach and Professor Peter Vang Hendriksen.

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 period of employment is 3 years. The candidate is expected to start not later than December 2019.

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

Further information may be obtained from Senior Researcher Wolff-Ragnar Kiebach, woki@dtu.dkor Professor Peter Vang Hendriksen,

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Please submit your online application no later than 21 August 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 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)

 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.

DTU is a technical university providing internationally leading research, education, innovation and 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 university collaborating globally with business, industry, government and public agencies.