PhD position on circular green hydrogen production (1.0 FTE)

PhD position on circular green hydrogen production (1.0 FTE)

Published Deadline Location
4 May 28 May Utrecht

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Would you like to explore the challenges and opportunities of producing, consuming, and recycling practices? Then we have got the perfect project for you.

Job description

We are seeking a highly motivated and talented PhD candidate to join our research team at the Faculty of Geosciences. The successful candidate will work on an interdisciplinary project that integrates innovation systems, transition studies and the circular economy with material and chemical engineering sciences with the goal to foster a fully circular green hydrogen economy. 

This interdisciplinary PhD research project will assess, develop and help to understand the drivers of, and barriers to, the creation of sustainable and circular electrolyzers needed for green hydrogen production. The project will explore the challenges and opportunities of producing, consuming, and recycling practices, with a focus on reducing the use of primary and critical materials by ensuring full recycling and repurposing of components. The ultimate goal of the research is to provide concrete advice to stakeholders (government, European Commission, industry) on how to stimulate circular economy practices for a sustainable and circular energy transition.

The PhD candidate will collaborate with energy, material and innovation scientists at the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development (Faculty of Geosciences). The candidate will be supervised by Dr. Hamed Aslannejad (E&R), Dr. Adriaan van der Loos (IS), Professor Ernst Worrell (E&R) and Professor Gert Jan Kramer (E&R). 

The following questions will help guide the PhD:
  1. What are the material and technological needs for producing, using, and recycling green hydrogen production technologies by electrolyzers?
  2. What are the current challenges and opportunities in the production, consumption, and recycling practices of green hydrogen technologies, and how can circular economy principles be integrated to develop cradle-to-cradle electrolyzers?
  3. How can we reduce raw resource requirements and ensure the full recycling and repurposing of components without downgrading their material quality in green hydrogen production technologies?
  4. How can we generate material and socio-technical insights into the production, use, and recycling of green hydrogen technologies to promote and create a mission-oriented circular economy and community?
  •  Investigate raw materials, their origins, future needs, and refining necessary to create the building blocks of electrolyzers, focusing on existing and promising raw materials;
  • Study the production, consumption, and recycling practices that hinder the creation of a fully circular green hydrogen economy and investigate innovative solutions to overcome these challenges;
  • Collaborate with the Energy & Resources and Innovation Studies groups of the Copernicus Institute and work closely with both socio-technical and fundamental geomaterials, manufacturing techniques, and recycling practices;
  • Develop theoretical perspectives and scientific expertise to generate material and socio-technical insights into how the core green hydrogen technology - the electrolyzer - is produced, used, and recycled, and provide advice on how these processes can be made more sustainable and circular;
  • Publish research results in high-impact scientific journals and present research findings at national and international conferences;
  • Contribute to the supervision of Master's students and participate in teaching activities related to the project.


Utrecht University


The ideal candidate has:
  • A background in the material sciences, innovation studies, transitions, chemical engineering, energy engineering or a related field;
  • Strong interest and knowledge of the circular economy;
  • Strong knowledge of qualitative research skills, such as interviews;
  • Knowledge in the field of hydrogen production, storage, transport and use is a plus; 
  • Demonstrated ability to conduct independent research and publish in peer-reviewed scientific journals;
  • Willingness to travel to case study sites and conduct fieldwork as needed;
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills;
  • Proficient in English, both written and spoken. 
Note: you do not need to fulfill all of these requirements.

Conditions of employment

You will be offered a temporary position (1.0 FTE), initially for one year with an extension to a total of four years upon a successful assessment in the first year, and with the specific intent that it results in a doctorate within this period. The gross salary ranges between €2,541 in the first year and €3,247 in the fourth year of employment (scale P according to the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities) per month for a full-time employment. Salaries are supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8% and a year-end bonus of 8.3% per year.

In addition, Utrecht University offers excellent secondary conditions, including an attractive retirement scheme, professional development, (partly paid) parental leave, sports and flexible employment conditions (multiple choice model). For more information, please visit working at Utrecht University.


Sharing science, shaping tomorrow. A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University, the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major strategic themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability. You can get an impression of our university by watching the Utrecht University Campus Tour.

Utrecht University's Faculty of Geosciences studies the Earth: from the Earth's core to its surface, including man's spatial and material utilisation of the Earth - always with a focus on sustainability and innovation. With 3,400 students (BSc and MSc) and 720 staff, the faculty is a strong and challenging organisation. The Faculty of Geosciences is organised in four Departments: Earth Sciences, Human Geography & Spatial Planning, Physical Geography, and Sustainable Development.


  • PhD
  • Natural sciences
  • 36—40 hours per week
  • €2541—€3247 per month
  • University graduate
  • 1209703



Princetonlaan 8a, 3584 CB, Utrecht

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