PhD position on Hydrogen generation via Seawater Electrolysis

PhD position on Hydrogen generation via Seawater Electrolysis

Published Deadline Location
7 Mar 2 Apr Delft

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Turning seawater into fuel

Job description

To accelerate the energy transition, the conversion of renewable energy in fuels and chemicals is indispensable. Green hydrogen is rapidly gaining interest as sustainable fuel, or can be used as precursor for chemical processes. For the production of green hydrogen, large water electrolyzers are envisioned for offshore or near-shore, to ease the connection to wind energy and/or floating solar. However, conventional electrolysis requires a substantial amount of water at extremely high purity. The combination of water use in electrolysis and the huge seawater availability has created the idea to develop a seawater electrolyzer.

Our group has wide experience in electrochemical conversion, such as water electrolysis, and water treatment, such as bipolar membrane electrodialysis. Initial tests for seawater electrolysis have been performed, and main challenges have been identified. In this PhD project, you will develop strategies for longer catalyst lifetime and in situ pH conditioning of the seawater. You will focus on designing the (membrane-based) flow cells, making new electrodes, and analysing the stability in seawater electrolysis. Your activities will include process design (flow strategies, cell engineering), investigation the performance of different configurations and study the effect of new electrode synthesis techniques on the stability of the process. We will work in a team with 2 PhD candidates, 3 researchers/engineers from permanent technical staff and 4 companies (key partner SwitcH2 offshore) in a collaborative project. The PhD position is funded for 4 years. You will be positioned in the research group of David Vermaas. The other researchers in the group (approximately 10 PhD/postdocs, 10 MSc students) investigate related electrochemical processes, and we foster the interaction between researchers in the group. 


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


We’re looking for a candidate with:

  • A MSc degree, in chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, applied physics or similar.
  • An excellent educational record (good grades in top-rated university)
  • Experience in doing experiments with electrochemical systems is considered a plus
  • Experience in membrane technology (e.g. electrodialysis, membrane distillation, etc.) is considered a plus
  • Pro-active and creative mind-set
  • Fluent in English. For non-native English speakers, either an English-taught MSc degree or score test certificate (TOEFL>100 points or IELTS >7.0) is required

Starting date planned for spring 2023      

Doing a PhD at TU Delft requires English proficiency at a certain level to ensure that the candidate is able to communicate and interact well, participate in English-taught Doctoral Education courses, and write scientific articles and a final thesis. For more details please check the Graduate Schools Admission Requirements.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 4 years (initial 1,5 years, followed by 2,5 years after a positive Go/No Go progress assessment).

Doctoral candidates will be offered a 4-year period of employment in principle, but in the form of 2 employment contracts. An initial 1,5 year contract with an official go/no go progress assessment within 15 months. Followed by an additional contract for the remaining 2,5 years assuming everything goes well and performance requirements are met.

Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2541 per month in the first year to € 3247 in the fourth year. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment with an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor. The Doctoral Education Programme is aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills.

The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, discounts on health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. For international applicants we offer the Coming to Delft Service and Partner Career Adviceto assist you with your relocation.


Delft University of Technology

Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context.

At TU Delft we embrace diversity as one of our core valuesand we actively engageto be a university where you feel at home and can flourish. We value different perspectives and qualities. We believe this makes our work more innovative, the TU Delft community more vibrant and the world more just. Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale. That is why we invite you to apply. Your application will receive fair consideration.

Challenge. Change. Impact!


Faculty Applied Sciences

With more than 1,000 employees, including 135 pioneering principal investigators, as well as a population of about 3,400 passionate students, the Faculty of Applied Sciences is an inspiring scientific ecosystem. Focusing on key enabling technologies, such as quantum- and nanotechnology, photonics, biotechnology, synthetic biology and materials for energy storage and conversion, our faculty aims to provide solutions to important problems of the 21st century. To that end, we train students in broad Bachelor's and specialist Master's programmes with a strong research component. Our scientists conduct ground-breaking fundamental and applied research in the fields of Life and Health Science & Technology, Nanoscience, Chemical Engineering, Radiation Science & Technology, and Engineering Physics. We are also training the next generation of high school teachers and science communicators.

Click hereto go to the website of the Faculty of Applied Sciences.


  • PhD
  • Engineering
  • 32—40 hours per week
  • €2471—€3336 per month
  • Doctorate
  • TUD03584


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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Mekelweg 2, 2628 CD, Delft

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