Two PhD studentships at "The VILLUM Center for the Science of Sustainable Fuels and Chemicals" (V-SUSTAIN)”: Electrochemical water and CO2 splitting at high temperature

DTU Energy
Tuesday 11 Jul 17

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VILLUM FONDEN has provided a substantial grant over the next 7 years to “The Villum Center for the Science of Sustainable Fuels and Chemicals” (V-SUSTAIN). The clear aim of the center is to provide the science necessary to phase out fossil fuels and thereby alleviate the negative impact the continuous use of these have on the earth’s climate and environment. The center is a collaboration between DTU, Stanford University, University of Copenhagen, and University of Southern Denmark.

V-SUSTAIN consists of six subprojects, two of which deal with i) efficient electrolytic water splitting for hydrogen production, and ii) electrochemical CO2 reduction to fuels and base chemicals. These processes can become key for producing fuels and chemicals in a future sustainable society. The topics of the two open PhD projects are:

-electrochemical water splitting at high temperature in solid oxide electrolysis cells (SOEC).

-electrochemical CO2 splitting at high temperature in solid oxide electrolysis cells (SOEC).

The work will take an experimental approach, but in line with the overall form of V-Sustain, it will run in parallel with project activities taking a theoretical computational approach to the same topic. The aim of the project is to improve the electro catalysts applied and the understanding of the electrochemical reduction processes. The work will involve preparation of electro catalysts in nano-particulate form and detailed electrochemical performance characterisation with the aim to elucidate the reaction mechanisms and what limits performance. One specific material that will be studied is doped CeO2 which has shown very promising electro-catalytic properties. The project will aim to understand nano-size and specific facet effects in this material and will involve also investigation of highly tailored thin film hetero-structures prepared by PLD.

The project will be carried out at DTU Energy, one of the partnering departments in V-Sustain. You will be part of the section for Mixed Conductors (water splitting) or the section for Electrochemical Materials and Interfaces (CO2 splitting) at DTU Energy, but will also interact with colleagues in other sections of the Department, with external partners and with V-sustain partners in other DTU institutes. Particular emphasis will be on the collaboration with the theoreticians in DTU and at Stanford.

Candidates should have a master's degree in engineering or a similar degree within Physics, Chemistry or Materials Science on an academic level equivalent to the master's degree in engineering. An absolute demand is very good communication skills in English, both written and spoken. Ability to work independently, to plan and carry out complex tasks, to perform complicated experiments, and to do theory based data analysis, are further necessary.

Approval and Enrolment
The scholarships 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 information about the general requirements for enrolment and the general planning of the scholarship studies, please see the DTU PhD Guide.

The final assessment of the applicants will be made by the PhD Committee for Chemistry, Biotechnology and Chemical Engineering.

We offer
We offer an interesting and challenging job in an international environment focusing on education, research, public-sector consultancy and innovation, which contribute to enhancing the economy and improving social welfare. We strive for academic excellence, collegial respect and freedom tempered by responsibility. The Technical University of Denmark (DTU) is a leading technical university in northern Europe and benchmarks with the best universities in the world.

Salary and appointment terms
The salary and appointment terms are consistent with the current rules for PhD degree students. The period of employment is 3 years.

The workplace will be DTU Energy, DTU Risø Campus, Frederiksborgvej 399, Roskilde, Denmark until dec. 2019, where the Department will move to new facilities at the DTU main campus in Lyngby.

Further information
Further information may be obtained from the supervisors, Professor, Peter Vang Hendriksen, tel. +45 4677 5725, e-mail and Senior Researcher, Christodoulos Chatzichristodoulou, tel. +45 2132 5057. You can read more about the Department on

Please do not send applications to these e-mail addresses, instead apply online as described below.

Please submit your online application no later than 8 August 2017.

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)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma (an official translation into English)
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and excel spreadsheet here)
Candidates may apply prior to ob­tai­ning their master's degree, but cannot begin before having received it.

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

DTU Energy is focused on education, research, and development within functional materials and their application in sustainable energy technologies. The Department, which has more than 200 employees, was founded in 2012.

DTU is a technical university providing internationally leading research, education, innovation and scientific advice. Our staff of 5,800 advance science and technology to create innovative solutions that meet the demands of society; and our 10,600 students are being educated to address the technological challenges of the future. DTU is an independent academic university collaborating globally with business, industry, government, and public agencies.