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In our research groups Electrochemical Materials and Systems and Membrane Materials and Processes we have two tightly connected PhD positions available:
PhD position 1: Electrode materials for water electrolysis
PhD position 2: Polymer membranes for water electrolysis
General description of the overall project
Hydrogen plays an essential role in the energy transition. It can be produced via water electrolysis using green electricity and, when needed, converted back into electricity in fuel cells without the release of CO2. Hydrogen thus serves as energy-carrying and -storage medium and can be used to level the large variations in only directly available solar and wind energy. Moreover green hydrogen can also be used directly as a raw material to make many chemical processes CO2 neutral or even CO2 negative. A major challenge for the cost-efficient implementation of hydrogen systems is the great diversity of the required functions and capacities per application and location. This PHOENIX-Alkalina project aims to develop a electrolyzer technology platform for modular, scalable electrolyzers that can be flexibly adapted to the local needs and can be produced cost-efficiently.
The project consortium consists of 6 industrial partners (4 large companies and 2 small SMEs) that act as technology providers and 3 universities specialized in water electrolysis and systems engineering and a network organization that focuses on ecosystem development. Extensive collaboration and exchange between all partners is foreseen. Within this project we now have two open PhD positions available, one focusing on electrode design and the other one focusing on membrane development for electrolysis. Both projects will be strongly integrated and intensive collaboration between the two PhD students is foreseen.
Details of the specific PhD projects
PhD position 1: Electrode materials for water electrolysis
In this project you will investigate the surface properties of electrodes for application in water electrolysers. Specific focus will be on engineering the surfaces of porous electrodes to control geometrical properties (e.g. rougness, morphology) at the nanoscale, electrochemical kinetics by applying electrocatalytic coatings (strong collaboration with industry), as well as tuning the surface wettability. A suite of electrochemical and chemical techniques will be explored to functionalize the electrode structures and extensive ex-situ and device characterization will be performed. Close collaboration with PhD position 2 is anticipated to closely develop next-generation membrane-electrode assemblies.
PhD position 2: Polymer membranes for electrolysis
In this project you will work on the development of polymer membranes for electrolysis. Focus is on the use of electrospinning: starting from a polymer solution, electrospinning uses electricity to generate polymer fibers that are collected on a support to form a membrane structure. Among others, the chemistry of the polymer, functional additives as well as the electrospinning conditions can be used to tailor the membrane properties for electrolysis. Developed membranes will be investigated using dedicated state of the art membrane characterization as well as membrane transport and performance evaluation. Additionally, in close collaboration with PhD 1, integration of the membrane with the electrodes (PhD position 1) in an electrolysis system and associated electrolyzer application studies are part of the project.
Location of the research
The research will be conducted at the Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry at the TU/e (The Netherlands) and is a strong collaboration between the two research groups Electrochemical Materials and Systems (www.fornercuencaresearch.com) and Membrane Materials and Processes (www.tue.nl/mmp).
The research group Electrochemical Materials and Systems (EMS) aims to accelerate the deployment of transformative energy technologies in the real world. To do so, the group employs fundamental principles at the convergence of materials science, electrochemical engineering, and surface science to synthesize, characterize, simulate, and implement novel materials into next-generation electrochemical devices. Areas of application include large-scale energy storage with flow batteries, energy conversion through hydrogen fuel cell, and sustainable manufacturing with electrolysis.
The research group Membrane Materials and Processes (MM/P) focuses on the design, development, characterization and application of polymer membranes to control mass transport in sustainable processes. The research combines and integrates materials chemistry, materials engineering and process technology. Application areas are water and energy, with a strong focus on the recovery and reuse of resources, the valorization of waste streams and energy efficiency. 'Closing cycles' and 'value from waste' are leading themes in the research program. Next to fundamental academic research, application-oriented research in close collaboration with the industry is stimulated.
Eindhoven University of Techology (TU/e) offers academic education that is driven by fundamental and applied research. We combine scientific curiosity with a hands-on mentality. Our educational philosophy is based on personal attention and room for individual ambitions and talents. Our research meets the highest international standards of quality. We push the limits of science, which puts us at the forefront of rapidly emerging areas of research.
Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e)
- We are looking for a talented, motivated and enthusiastic researcher
- Preferably, candidates have a strong background and interest in chemical engineering, materials engineering, civil engineering, electrical engineering or mechanical engineering combined with knowledge of physical chemistry.
- Candidates should have a scientific attitude combined with a hands-on mentality
- Analytical skills, initiative and creativity are valuable properties
- You are a naturally curious person who is eager to learn more and has a strong interest in research.
- Excellent communication skills in English are a prerequisite.
- We prefer candidates with a good team spirit, who like to work in an internationally oriented, social environment.
An interview, a scientific presentation and a writing assignment are part of the selection procedure.
Conditions of employment
A meaningful job in a dynamic and ambitious university, in an interdisciplinary setting and within an international network. You will work on a beautiful, green campus within walking distance of the central train station. In addition, we offer you:
- Full-time employment for four years, with an intermediate evaluation (go/no-go) after nine months. You will spend 10% of your employment on teaching tasks.
- Salary and benefits (such as a pension scheme, paid pregnancy and maternity leave, partially paid parental leave) in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, scale P (min. €2,770 max. €3,539).
- A year-end bonus of 8.3% and annual vacation pay of 8%.
- High-quality training programs and other support to grow into a self-aware, autonomous scientific researcher. At TU/e we challenge you to take charge of your own learning process.
- An excellent technical infrastructure, on-campus children's day care and sports facilities.
- An allowance for commuting, working from home and internet costs.
- A Staff Immigration Team and a tax compensation scheme (the 30% facility) for international candidates.