PhD position - CO2 Electochemical Conversion to Alcohols on Molecular Catalysts

Updated: 2 days ago
Deadline: 05 Aug 2024

Making alcohols from CO2

Our world is at an energy crossroads. We need to supplant fossil fuels with renewable alternatives at a global scale. The addition of renewable electricity is one part of this puzzle, but we also must replace 100's million of tons of carbon-based fuels and feedstocks in order to curb our CO2 emissions. One means of doing this is to use atmospheric and point source CO2 as a carbon source, and to develop technologies that can convert CO2 into valuable compounds such as carbon monoxide, ethylene and ethanol. Within the e-Refinery Institute at TU Delft, we’re working on accelerating the energy transition by developing electrolyzers that convert CO2 and water into sustainable fuels and feedstock, using renewable electricity. The Burdyny Energy Lab is a globally-leading group in this research area, and has numerous working setups and researchers working in this area. Our overarching goal is to help the global community upscale the technology towards practical application.

The open PhD position will fit within this larger team of 5-8 PhD and postdocs, while working on an independent research project embedded with the ERC Starting Grant title RECALLCO2. Here the candidate will seek to develop an entirely new set of electrodes that unify the two fields of molecular catalysts and metallic electrodes to perform novel CO2/CO electrochemical reactions. Target products include primarily ethanol and methanol while there is a wide range of possibilities for the metal electrodes and molecular compounds. The researcher will learn to utilize both H-cell and flow-cell electrochemical systems. Technical skills such as hands-on electrochemical experience, working with metallic molecular complexes, hands-on coordination chemistry experience, working with analytical instrumentation, chemical synthesis of molecular compounds are all valuable. A preprint illustrating one approach for the research project is here:

The successful candidate is expected to publish first-authored papers that advance state-of-the-art fundamental and applied knowledge in the research field. Further the candidate will present their work at national and international conferences while building their own personal career pathway in consultation with the group principal investigator Thomas Burdyny. More information about the research group can be found on the 

We’re looking for a candidate with:

  • An MSc in chemical engineering with electrochemistry and/or coordination chemistry experience
  • An MSc in chemistry, and a strong background in synthetic organic chemistry, coordination chemistry or homogeneous catalysis.
  • A pro-active and creative mind-set
  • Fluent or working proficiency in English.
  • Starting date planned for Fall 2024 or early 2025
  • Able to work independently and as part of a greater team. Contributes to the social well-being and culture of the research group.
  • A demonstrated record of an academic mindset illustrating critical thinking. For example through thesis or internship work. 

Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, discounts on health insurance, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged.

For international applicants, TU Delft has the Coming to Delft Service . This service provides information for new international employees to help you prepare the relocation and to settle in the Netherlands. The Coming to Delft Service offers a Dual Career Programme  for partners and they organise events to expand your (social) network.

Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context.

At TU Delft we embrace diversity as one of our core values  and we actively engage  to be a university where you feel at home and can flourish. We value different perspectives and qualities. We believe this makes our work more innovative, the TU Delft community more vibrant and the world more just. Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale. That is why we invite you to apply. Your application will receive fair consideration.

Challenge. Change. Impact!

With more than 1,100 employees, including 150 pioneering principal investigators, as well as a population of about 3,600 passionate students, the Faculty of Applied Sciences is an inspiring scientific ecosystem. Focusing on key enabling technologies, such as quantum- and nanotechnology, photonics, biotechnology, synthetic biology and materials for energy storage and conversion, our faculty aims to provide solutions to important problems of the 21st century. To that end, we educate innovative students in broad Bachelor's and specialist Master's programmes with a strong research component. Our scientists conduct ground-breaking fundamental and applied research in the fields of Life and Health Science & Technology, Nanoscience, Chemical Engineering, Radiation Science & Technology, and Engineering Physics. We are also training the next generation of high school teachers.

Click here  to go to the website of the Faculty of Applied Sciences.

For more information about this vacancy, please contact Thomas Burdyny ([email protected])    

Are you interested in this vacancy? Please apply before August 5th 2024 via the application button and upload the following documents as PDF files:

  • A one-page motivation letter that is specific to this vacancy. Please be sure to comment on how your experience as it relates to the above job requirements.
  • A detailed CV
  • Contact information of at least 2 references (name + e-mail)
  • A pre-employment screening can be part of the selection procedure.
  • You can only apply online. We will not process applications sent by email and/or post.

For information about the application procedure, please contact Thomas Burdyny ([email protected]) 

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