PhD scholarship in Solid Oxide Electrolysis Cells

DTU Energy

Do you want to contribute to a sustainable future based on the solid oxide electrolysis cell technology? At the Department of Energy Conversion and Storage (DTU Energy) at the Technical University of Denmark our research is targeting exactly this, and we are looking for a new PhD student.

Displacement of fossil fuels by renewable energy (RE) is a global issue with inherent challenges of balancing electricity supply and demand. Solid oxide electrolysis cells (SOECs) can convert electricity from RE sources into hydrogen, CO or methane and hence contribute to an excess electricity offtake. The produced gas can be converted into liquid hydrocarbon fuels for the transportation sector or chemicals for high value markets, or converted back to electricity at peak demand and hereby reduce carbon footprint. At DTU Energy we have been carrying out R&D in sustainable energy conversion technologies and especially solid oxide electrolysis cells for many years and we are among the world’s leaders in research and development in this area. We have excellent facilities and competences for fabrication, modeling, testing and characterization of devices.

Responsibilities and qualifications
Recently we have been awarded by Independent Research Fund Denmark a project on converting biogas into value added chemicals. This project aims to develop a novel high temperature electrochemical reactor based on solid oxide electrolysis cells, for converting the main component in biogas (methane) into ethylene, which is the key chemical feedstock in the manufacture of plastics, fibers and other organic chemicals. The project focus is on designing electro-catalysts for the EOCM (electrochemical oxidative coupling of methane) reaction. As a PhD student, you will help us develop the EOCM reactor. You will do so by experimentally investigating hydrothermal synthesis of nano-powders and as well as in-situ metal exsolution to establish highly active and durable metal-oxide interfaces on nanoscale with tailored interface atomic structure and oxygen states. This will lead us hopefully to a precise control of the EOCM reaction kinetics, resulting in efficient methane conversion and high ethylene selectivity. You will be working in a team with experts in electrolysis technologies and energy storage, with industry, and other university departments.

Qualified applicants must 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
  • Be excellent in establishing an overview and take responsibility
  • Ability to work independently, to plan and carry out complicated tasks.
  • Good communication skills in English, both written and spoken.
  • Knowledge/experience on the subjects of electrochemical characterization of solid oxide cells, electrode and cell fabrication, hydrothermal synthesis 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 
DTU's rules for the PhD education.

Assessment
The assessment of the applicants will be made by Professor Ming Chen and Professor Rasmus Bjørk.

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.

Starting time is as soon as possible according to mutual agreement.

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 Professor Ming Chen, 
minc@dtu.dk, and Professor Rasmus Bjørk, rabj@dtu.dk

Please do not send applications to these e-mail addresses, instead apply online as described below.

You can read more about DTU Energy at www.energy.dtu.dk

If you are applying from abroad, you may find useful information on working in Denmark and at DTU at DTU – Moving to Denmark. Furthermore, you have the option of joining our monthly free seminar “PhD relocation to Denmark and startup “Zoom” seminar” for all questions regarding the practical matters of moving to Denmark and working as a PhD at DTU.

Application procedure 
Your complete online application must be submitted no later than 15 October 2022 (Danish 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 (in English) including official description of grading scale

Incomplete applications will not be considered.

You may apply prior to obtaining your master's degree but cannot begin before having received it. 

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

DTU Energy
The Department of Energy Conversion and Storage (DTU Energy) is focusing on functional materials and their application in sustainable energy technology. Our research areas include fuel cells, electrolysis, solar cells, electromechanical converters, sustainable synthetic fuels, and batteries. The Department, which has more than 200 employees, was founded in 2012. Additional information about the department can be found on www.energy.dtu.dk

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 13,400 students and 5,800 employees. We work in an international atmosphere and have an inclusive, evolving, and informal working environment. DTU has campuses in all parts of Denmark and in Greenland, and we collaborate with the best universities around the world.