PhD on plasma-driven CO2 upgrading - 2. Plasma chemistry & engineering

Updated: about 1 month ago
Deadline: 09 Jun 2024

Irène Curie Fellowship



Electrical Engineering

Reference number


Job description

The Electrical Energy Systems (EES) group within the Department of Electrical Engineering of Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) seeks to hire an excellent PhD candidate within the field of plasma chemistry.

This is a 4-year salaried PhD position. We will only hire one candidate and will mainly focus on the candidate’s profile to make our choice, since this is a highly challenging, project, requiring interdisciplinary skills in the field of chemistry, physics and electrical engineering.

Project description

Using sustainable energy, back-conversion of CO2 to organic materials is a very interesting, but highly challenging concept. The aim is not to regenerate fuels but synthesize essential building blocks for specialty organics like e.g. pharmaceutics, vitamins and advanced polymeric materials. Plasma technology, especially our pursued fast pulse power plasma concept, could provide pathways of lower activation energy than conventional thermal activation. By choosing the right combination of plasma parameters, feedstock recipes and reactor topology, plasma-driven hydrocarbon synthesis from CO2 may be a very attractive, near future concept to secure the availability of advanced organic materials without dependence on fossil sources.  

This approach requires strongly interdisciplinary knowledge e.g. on plasma chemistry, plasma physics, analytical chemistry, reactor engineering and a well-developed knowledge in organic chemistry.

In the first stage of the project, you’ll identify fundamental plasma physics & plasma chemistry pathways, the product spectrum of CO2 upgrading, product identification, process parameters, reactor design and construction of the experimental setup. Then, experimental investigation of the plasma and chemical reaction engineering parameter space will take place, reporting on the product spectrum, CO2 conversion and major production efficiencies. Together with a PhD student on pulsed power development you will investigate what pulse parameters should be used to optimize the processes. Gained insights will enable further process optimization. Obtained efficiencies should be benchmarked with classical synthesis pathways. Eventually you’ll deduce design rules for CO2 upgrading, which will enable the construction of a pilot setup.

The total TU/e executing project team consists of 2 PhD students and a Postdoctoral researcher (as well as two academic supervisors and a project manager). Furthermore, you will be working together with a company that will bring the research results into practice, so we are looking for a candidate with excellent teamworking skills.

If you are interested, please apply for this position and if you have any questions, please contact me at [email protected] .

Electrical Energy Systems Group

Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) is a world-leading research university specializing in engineering science & technology. The Department of Electrical Engineering is responsible for research and education in Electrical Engineering. The discipline covers technologies and electrical phenomena involved in computer engineering, information processing, energy transfer and telecommunication. The department strives for societal relevance through an emphasis on the fields of smart sustainable systems, the connected world and care & cure. The TU/e is the world’s best-performing research university in terms of research cooperation with industry (#1 since 2009).

The Electrical Energy Systems (EES) group has a strong research line on Pulsed Power Technology, which is the topic that deals with the generation of the short high-voltage pulses. By generating very short high-voltage pulses, we can produce chemically active electrical discharges (plasmas). These plasmas can then be employed for environmental applications, such as air or water purification or to “activate” water, which gives the water disinfecting and fertilizing properties. Other uses for plasma are medical (wound disinfection, wound healing acceleration) and surface treatment of materials (etching, deposition of layers, surface modification, etc.). Pulsed Power Technology is practiced at several world-recognized institutes around the world. One of these top institutes is the EES group at Eindhoven University of Technology.

In EES’ High-Voltage laboratory (a 14x14x8m Faraday cage) we work on (nanosecond) high-voltage pulse source design, plasmas, pulsed power applications and all the intermediate steps in the process. Our main focus is on the development of nanosecond pulsed high-voltage circuits that generate pulses from several kV to hundreds of kV and from less than one nanosecond duration to pulses of several hundreds of nanoseconds duration.

Job requirements

We are looking for candidates that match the following profile:

  • A master’s degree in chemical engineering or chemistry with excellent grades and experience with - or at least a strong affinity to -interdisciplinary projects at the interface of material-energy interaction.
  • A specialization in plasma or radiation chemistry, chemical reaction engineering or chemical process technology.
  • Well-developed experimental skills and distinct affinity to plasma and high-voltage pulsed power technology.
  • Be able to bridge the gap between fundamental concepts and theories on the one hand, and practical implementation and evaluation of these concepts on the other hand.
  • Exhibit initiative and radiate an independent and result-driven attitude.
  • A team player that enjoys working in multidisciplinary teams.
  • Good communication and organization skills.
  • Excellent English language skills (writing and presenting).

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. 

Information and application

About us

Eindhoven University of Technology is an internationally top-ranking university in the Netherlands that combines scientific curiosity with a hands-on attitude. Our spirit of collaboration translates into an open culture and a top-five position in collaborating with advanced industries. Fundamental knowledge enables us to design solutions for the highly complex problems of today and tomorrow. 

Curious to hear more about what it’s like as a PhD candidate at TU/e? Please view the video.


Do you recognize yourself in this profile and would you like to know more?
Please contact the hiring manager, Wilfred Hoeben, [email protected] .

Visit our website for more information about the application process or the conditions of employment. You can also contact HR Services Flux, [email protected] .

Are you inspired and would like to know more about working at TU/e? Please visit our career page .


We invite you to submit a complete application by using the apply button.
The application should include a:

  • Cover letter in which you describe your motivation and qualifications for the position.
  • Curriculum vitae, including a list of your publications and the contact information of three references.

We look forward to receiving your application and will screen it as soon as possible. The vacancy will remain open until the position is filled.

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