PhD scholarship in Solid Oxide Electrolysis Cells - SOECs

Wednesday 18 Dec 19

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Apply no later than 31 January 2020
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The Department of Energy Conversion and Storage (DTU Energy) at the Technical University of Denmark invites applicants for a PhD position on the topic of solid oxide electrolysis cells - SOECs.

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. The selected candidate will be a member of the Continuum Modelling and Testing section counting around 20 members, but will also interact with colleagues in other sections of the department and with external project partners.

The PhD position is jointly funded by the projects “EP2Gas: Efficient Power2Gas combining SOEC and biomass gasification” (funded by EUDP) and “REFORGE - Realizing high temperature electrolysis stacks for green ammonia production” (funded by IFD). Electrolysis of water will become a key technology in the future energy system to balance increasing amounts of renewable electricity production (from wind and solar) against the demand and to provide sustainable fuels to the transport sector. When renewable electricity production exceeds the demand, the surplus can be used for production of hydrogen via steam electrolysis for instance in a Solid Oxide Electrolysis Cell (SOEC). This hydrogen can advantageously be added to “producer gas” obtained by thermal gasification of biomass to create a synthesis gas, which can be further catalytically upgraded to fuels like e.g. methane or methanol.


The overall objective of the EP2Gas project is to develop efficient, and cost effective P2G (methane) solutions based on integration of an SOEC, a biomass gasifier and a catalytic methanation reactor, while the overall aim for REFORGE is to make SOEC the future enabling technology (scalable and cost-competitive) for producing H2 for sustainable chemicals and fuels, such as NH3. One of the common challenges in these two projects is to bring the technologies up in scale and to improve them with respect to key performance characteristics; an important one for the case of SOEC being the power density and the cell lifetime.


Responsibilities and tasks

The PhD projects aim at a better understanding of the SOEC process using steam (and/or CO2) with regard to performance and durability/lifetime limiting factors, and based on the obtained knowledge developing and demonstrating improve cells operating at thermoneutral voltage (1.3V), to increase system efficiency, with an expected lifetime >4 years. Topics include:

  • Performance and durability testing of State-of-the-art (SoA) SOEC cells.
  • Electrochemical characterization and post mortem analysis using e.g. i-V curves, impedance spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy etc.
  • Study of lifetime limiting parameters and degradation mechanisms.
  • Development of improved SOEC cells via modifying SoA SOEC cells or introducing novel electrode/cell materials & architecture.

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.

An absolute demand is very good communication skills in English, both written and spoken. Ability to work independently, to plan and carry out complex tasks, to perform complicated experiments, and to do theory based data analysis, are further necessary.

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 Professor Ming Chen and Senior Researcher Henrik Lund Frandsen.

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.

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

Further information may be obtained from Professor Ming Chen tel.: +45 46 77 57 57 or Senior Researcher Henrik Lund Frandsen, tel.: +45 46 77 56 68. 

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Please submit your online application no later than 31 January 2020 (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.

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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.