Postdoc position Intermediate temperature molten salts based batteries

Updated: 6 days ago
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One year postdoc position within the group of Catalytic and Electrochemical Processes for Energy Applications, in the area of intermediate temperature molten salts based batteries, NaSTOR
De Zaale 20 Eindhoven
Theme Solar Fuels
Catalytic and Electrochemical Processes for Energy Applications
Kind of contract: 
Kind of function: 
Scientific staff
Working hours: 
0,8 - 1 FTE
Level of education: 
Level of experience: 
Vacancy id: 
Publication date: 
November 9, 2021
Closing date: 
January 15, 2022

The Dutch Institute for Fundamental Energy Research (DIFFER) performs leading fundamental research on materials, processes, and systems for a global sustainable energy infrastructure. We work in close partnership with (inter)national academia and industry. Our user facilities are open to industry and university researchers. As an institute of the Dutch Research Council (NWO) DIFFER plays a key role in fundamental research for the energy transition.

We use a multidisciplinary approach applicable on two key areas, solar fuels for the conversion and storage of renewable energy and nuclear fusion – as a clean source of energy.

DIFFER is looking for a Postdoc intermediate temperature molten salts based batteries

Energy storage concepts will be increasingly used in the near future as a result of the increased implementation of renewable energy sources in energy infrastructure. In this aspect, batteries are considered as suitable candidates for compensating the intermittency of renewable sources like solar and wind energy. Sodium-sulfur batteries (NaSBs), are considered as potential energy storage systems for stationary electric storage applications. Conventional NaSBs operate at high temperatures of 300-350 o C, where both of the electrodes are in a molten state for having the optimum electrochemical reactivity, and for the beta-alumina membranes to have the optimum ionic conductivity. However, safety issues related to high-temperature operation triggered novel NaSBs battery concepts, which aim at operating temperatures just above the melting point of sodium (i.e. 120-180 o C). These operating conditions introduce challenges that need to be addressed for optimizing next-generation NaSBs by mimicking the chemistry of traditional high-temperature counter parts and molten halide catholyte-based Sodium–nickel chloride (Zebra) battery technologies.

DIFFER aim with a consortium of partners (i.e. Exergy Storage, Ionotec, Nouryon) to realize a prototype battery operating in this intermediate temperature window suitable for residential storage unit. In this context, the role of DIFFER is particularly to focus on the challenges related to the cathodic compartment i.e. investigating the effect of molten salts based catholyte mixtures for the proposed battery system.

This postdoc position involves:

  • Design, set-up, and optimization of electrochemical cells for high-temperature operation
  • Formulation and investigation of molten salts catholyte mixtures, understating their behavior and performance under various operating conditions
  • Determining the catholyte’s effects on corrosion of cell components, as well as the interface chemistry
  • Determination of optimal operating windows, and long-term test protocols
  • Prepare scientific papers, conference communications, periodic reports
  • Contribute to the scientific and collaborative research environment at DIFFER
  • Close collaboration with the industrial partners

Position and requirements
  • PhD degree in materials science, electrochemistry, or related subjects
  • Practical laboratory experience with high-temperature electrochemistry, preferably molten salts, but it can be molten metals
  • Prior work experience in the glovebox or handling moisture-sensitive materials
  • Expertise in batteries research and familiarity in electrochemical methods (cyclic voltammetry, electrochemical impedance spectroscopy, and other diagnostic tools to improve performance)
  • Experience in characterization of materials and developing experimental apparatus is an advantage
  • Proven can-do attitude, coming up with practical working solutions is a must.
  • Good verbal and written communication skills in English are mandatory.

Terms and conditions

This position is for 0,8 - 1 FTE, will be for a period of one year, with the perspective to be extended, and is graded in pay scale 10. The position will be based at DIFFER ( ) and the working location will be Eindhoven. When fulfilling a position at DIFFER, you will have an employee status at NWO. You can participate in all the employee benefits NWO offers. We have a number of regulations that support employees in finding a good work-life balance. At DIFFER we believe that a workforce diverse in gender, age and cultural background is key to performing excellent research. We therefore strongly encourage everyone to apply. More information on working at NWO can be found at the NWO website ( )

Information and application

For more information concerning the position please see: . To apply for this position, please click the button underneath. Applications by e-mail cannot be taken into consideration. 

Closing date: 
January 15, 2022
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