Postdoc in Electrofuels for sustainable transportation – cost assessment and system optimisation

Monday 02 Dec 19

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Do you want to contribute to a sustainable future and to researching the energy technologies of tomorrow? At DTU Energy our research is targeting exactly this, and we are looking for new team members.

It is clear to all that the sooner we can stop relying on fossil fuels the better. Cars and small vehicles can be run on batteries and fuel cells. Larger vessels like aircrafts and ships for long distance transport needs higher energy density carriers, and liquid fuels or highly compressed gaseous fuels appear to be the only option. Various fuels can be synthesized by electrolysis and down-stream catalytic upgrading processes, but the question; which are the best and most sustainable alternatives remains unanswered.


Hydrocarbon fuels like methanol or methane may be synthesized from biomass, but research indicate that fuels obtained from bio-waste (straw, wood chips etc.) will not be sufficient to cover society’s needs, at least not without supplying additional hydrogen. This hydrogen can be obtained by splitting of steam via electrolysis. Due to scarcity of biomass resources, our research also considers fuels alternative to hydrocarbons for instance ammonia.


The solid oxide cell technology has the potential to become a key technology in the future sustainable energy system - acting both as fuel cells to generate power locally (SOFC) and as electrolysis cells (SOEC) to supply hydrogen (and maybe also nitrogen) to be used for synthesizing fuels for the transport sector. In the planned activities this technology will be benchmarked against alternatives such as alkaline electrolysis and proton-exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells. 


We are working on a number of research projects, running in parallel, trying to answer the following questions:

  • What are the best sustainable fuels for transport, more specifically cargo shipping?
  • Do we have sufficient bio-waste to produce the needed fuels of tomorrow?
  • Which are the most attractive solutions when considering both the need for large scale energy storage (power2X) and value to the transport sector?

These questions we address by modelling at the system level describing overall efficiency and process economy of plants and synthesis routes for different sustainable fuels. We are looking to recruit two postdocs to help us researching this, i.e. constructing system models at the plant level involving initially the electrolysis units and peripheral components and describing overall process economy. Later system modeling of other energy technologies, such as novel thermal storage devices or novel batteries will also be part of the overall models. You will be working in a team on these topics, with local experts on the actual technologies.


This requires a background in physics, chemistry or mechanical engineering. Knowledge on energy conversion processes, energy system descriptions and techno-economical assessments are further advantageous.


The main activity will take place at the Department of Energy Conversion and Storage at DTU Lyngby campus.


Qualified applicants must ideally have:
  • PhD degree in engineering, physics, chemistry or similar.
  • Experience with system modelling software such as Aspen+ or similar
  • Knowledge of energy system, conversion and storage technologies
  • Ability to work independently, to plan and carry out complicated tasks, and to be a part of a large, dynamic group.
  • Good communication skills in English, both written and spoken.

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 terms of employment
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 salary is fixed based on your years of experience within research.

You can read more about career paths at DTU here.

The postdoc positions are for a duration of two years. The expected starting date is early 2020.

Further information
Please contact Senior Scientist Henrik Lund Frandsen, +45 9351 1618, , or Professor Peter Vang Hendriksen, +45 4677 5725,


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


Please submit your online application no later than 15 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 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)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and PhD diploma
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines)

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


DTU Energy is focusing on functional materials and their application in sustainable energy technology. Our research areas include fuel cells, electrolysis, solar cells, magnetic refrigeration, superconductivity and thermoelectrics. Additional information about the department can be found on


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.