PhD positions (2) in Electrocatalytic CO2 and CO Reduction at Elevated Temperatures for Making Long Carbon Chain Species – DTU Physics

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PhD positions (2) in Electrocatalytic CO2 and CO Reduction at Elevated Temperatures for Making Long Carbon Chain Species – DTU Physics
Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark

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Job Description

While direct electrification is normally the most effective way to achieve a sustainable society, there are certain areas that cannot be electrified such as aviation and long-distance shipping.  For these sectors we need the high energy density that comes with carbon-based molecules.  While we have developed CO2 electrolysis to make 1, 2 and even 3 carbon chain species, we need to have carbon chains on the order of 8-15 to be equivalent to current jet fuels.
We do have processes to make large chain carbons currently with CO2 and H2 via the Fischer-Tropsch process, though this process needs to operate at high temperatures and pressures while producing a wide distribution of carbon chain lengths, many of which have minimal societal usage. The end result is in an inefficient overall process. However, an interesting difference between CO2 electrolysis and Fischer-Tropsch is that they have completely different mechanisms in creating a carbon-carbon bond. Traditionally CO2 electrolysis has always operated either near room temperature (25 C) or at ultra-high temperatures (600-800 C) is solid oxide electrolyzers, however Fischer-Tropsch operates at 150-300 C and this has not really been investigated.
This project will look to operate CO2 electrolysis at elevated temperatures and pressures approaching the Fischer-Tropsch regime to see how the catalysts behave in these conditions.  We will focus on studying this both in aqueous solutions and non-aqueous solutions as each behaves substantially different.  Because of this we have two open PhD positions: one for aqueous and non-aqueous CO2 reduction.
In investigating this topic, the PhD candidate’s main tool would be electrochemical techniques such as cyclic voltammetry, chronoamperometry, and potentially impedance measurements.  All electrochemical devices are linked in-operando to either a gas chromatograph of mass spectrometer that the candidate will learn to operate and control. HPLC will typically be used for liquid products, but potentially NMR may also be used. Catalysts will typically produced via physical vapor deposition techniques (sputtering, CVD, or ALD) or via wet chemical techniques.  The catalysts morphology and electronic structure will be characterized via tools such as XPS, ISS, SEM, TEM, STM, and XRD. Surface enhanced FTIR may also be used if we feel this can give substantial insight into understanding the science. 
The PhD project will be part of the CAPeX center  for accelerating catalyst development. As part of this center there will be computational chemists and nanoparticle synthesis experts that you can collaborate with on the overall goal of CO2 to long chain hydrocarbons.  Furthermore, the center also includes general experts on catalyst characterization, artificial intelligence, robotics, power electronics and other areas, thus this should provide a substantial support to help the project.  Furthermore, there are international collaborators integrated into this project allowing for seamless external stays.
The project will take place in the Surface Science and Catalysis (SurfCat) at DTU Physics but may collaborate with both partners within DTU and externally. A senior researcher from Topsoe Catalyst will also give oversight on the project.
It is essential that the successful candidate is highly ambitious as well as open minded.  The candidate must both be able to be a self-starter and work independently as well as work together as part of a team when relevant. The candidate should have a master’s degree (120 ECTS points) in physics, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Material Science or a similar field or will expect to have that degree before the beginning of this position.  The candidate should have extensive experimental experience working with heterogeneous catalytic reactions (thermal catalysis, electrocatalysis, or photocatalysis).
Approval and Enrolment 
For those with master’s degrees applying for a PhD, the scholarship for the PhD degree are subject to academic approval, and the candidates will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes of DTU, for example in Mathematics, Physics and Informatics. For information about the general requirements for enrolment and the general planning of the scholarship studies, please see DTU's rules for the PhD education . 
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. 
A PhD position is for 3 years, and the PhD thesis must be delivered during this period. The position(s) start date is expected to be on either 1 January or 1 February 2025.
You can read more about career paths at DTU here .
Further information
For further information about the research at SurfCat at the Department of Physics at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) please inspect . 
Should you have any queries regarding the positions, please contact Professor Brian Seger [email protected] .  
If you are applying from abroad, you may find useful information on working in Denmark and at DTU at DTU – Moving to Denmark . Furthermore, you have the option of joining our monthly free seminar “PhD relocation to Denmark and startup “Zoom” seminar ” for all questions regarding the practical matters of moving to Denmark and working as a PhD at DTU. 
Application procedure
Your online application must be submitted no later than 1 September 2024 (23:59 Danish 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 (Max one page))
  • Curriculum vitae 
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma (in English) including official description of grading scale
  • Names and e-mail addresses or telephone numbers of 2-3 references.

You may apply prior to ob­tai­ning your master's degree but cannot begin before having received it. 
Applications 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.
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 mission to develop and create value using science and engineering to benefit society. That mission lives on today. DTU has 13,500 students and 6,000 employees. We work in an international atmosphere and have an inclusive, evolving, and informal working environment. DTU has campuses in all parts of Denmark and in Greenland, and we collaborate with the best universities around the world.

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Job Info
  • Job Identification 3680
  • Job Category Phd
  • Posting Date 06/13/2024, 11:26 AM
  • Apply Before 09/01/2024, 05:59 PM
  • Locations Fysikvej, Kgs. Lyngby, 2800, DK

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    Fysikvej, Kgs. Lyngby, 2800, DK

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