Postdoc for Applied Aspects of Electrocatalytic CO Reduction and…

Updated: 3 months ago
Deadline: 15 Dec 2022

As the importance of Power-to-X is becoming clear for a sustainable society, this project will focus on the more emerging and early stage aspects of this field. This project will focus on 2 aspects both related to developing research from basic science H-cell type electrochemistry into more applied membrane electrode assembly (MEA) type electrochemical devices.

The first area of focus will be on carbon monoxide electrolysis towards ethanol. While CO2 is the major global greenhouse gas, there are becoming an increasing number of approaches to convert this to CO such as low temperature (600 C) CO2 electrolysis and pyrolysis from biomass. However, further conversion of CO to chemicals such as ethylene, ethanol etc. are quite limited with further electrolysis being one promising avenue. This work will thus focus on improving catalysis for CO to ethanol in an MEA type devices. A variety of Cu based catalysts, mass transfer approaches, and aqueous based electrolytes will be investigated to look to optimize performance. The end goal will be to send this cathode to an industrial collaborator producing chlorine at the anode to have a dual functioning device producing ethanol and chlorine, both of which are useful cleaning agents.

The second area will focus on partial electrochemical oxidation of small molecules (ethanol, propylene, ethylene, etc.) concomitantly with chlorine electrolysis with the goal of producing chlorinated hydrocarbon species. The general idea is that with both carbon based species and chlorine on the surface of a catalyst, a catalyst with the appropriate binding energy to each species could allow for carbon-chlorine coupling and thus we could create an entirely new class of materials created electrochemistry.

As the first area is more straightforward, and the second area is more high-risk, high-reward, this position should allow one both the security to build their publication profile as well as go after more ambitious ideas.

The project is funded by a combination of the Carlsberg Foundation and Innovation Fund Denmark and will take place at the SurfCat laboratories at DTU Physics. In these laboratories we have 3 electrochemical mass spectrometer devices, 20 potentiostats, 4 RDE set-ups, 5 gas chromatographs, 2 magnetron sputter chambers, 2 mass-selected cluster source devices, 5 XPS (one with in-line electrochemical set-up), 3 gloveboxes, 2 XRD set-ups (one allowing in-situ annealing with gas flow), ICP-MS, FTIR, 3 full time technicians, and a sufficient number of wet-labs, fume hoods, and furnaces. We also have access to clean room facilities and electron microscopy via DTU Nanolab , as well as a consultant on innovation who has helped start up 3 start-ups in the last 7 years from the SurfCat section of DTU Physics.

The successful candidate should be highly ambitious as well as open minded and willing and able to work as part of a team. As a formal qualification, you must hold a PhD degree (or equivalent). The degree should be preferably in Physics, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Material Science or a similar field or will expect to have that degree within the immediate future. Quality in research is the core principle in which we strive for, thus a strong fundamental scientific approach and knowledge base is essential.

The candidate should have extensive experimental experience working with electrocatalytic reactions. Experience with gas chromatographs, HPLC, mass spectrometers and mass flow meters would be highly useful. XPS, SEM, and ICP-MS knowledge also may be useful.

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 terms of employment
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.

The period of employment is 2 years. The position start date is negotiable, but preferably we would like this to start on either February or March 1st 2023.

You can read more about career paths at DTU here .

Further information
Further information may be obtained about the research at SurfCat at the Department of Physics at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) please go to .

Should you have any queries regarding the positions, please contact Professor Brian Seger . To read more about the Physics department in general, please see

If you are applying from abroad, you may find useful information on working in Denmark and at DTU at DTU – Moving to Denmark .

Application procedure
Your complete online application must be submitted no later than 15 December 2022 (Danish time).

Apply for online here: Postdoc for Applied Aspects of Electrocatalytic CO Reduction and Coupling Carbon to Chlorine for new Molecules .

Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link “Apply online”, fill out the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include:

  • Application (cover letter)
  • CV
  • Academic Diplomas (MSc/PhD – in English)
  • List of publications

Applications received after the deadline will not be considered.

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, disability, race, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

The SurfCat section of DTU Physics consists of 6 professors and approximately 40-50 PhD’s and postdoc with the overarching theme of catalysis, thus there will be a large number of colleagues to work with and gain expertise from. Additionally the SurfCat section has a close collaboration with the CatTheory section of DTU Physics, who focuses on computational catalysis. Thus there are continua collaborations developing between these 2 sections.

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 13,400 students and 5,800 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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