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PhD position: Development and evaluation of innovative electrochemical device

Scientific aim: Renewable energy sources are highly desirable in this era of dwindling petroleum reserves and increasing environmental concerns. Solar energy and wind energy can cover a substantial share of global energy needs, but due ...

11 maanden geleden


Van Vollenhovenlaan, Utrecht, Utrecht
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
40 uur
€ 2834 per maand


Scientific aim: Renewable energy sources are highly desirable in this era of dwindling petroleum reserves and increasing environmental concerns. Solar energy and wind energy can cover a substantial share of global energy needs, but due to the intermittency and diluteness of the sources storage in energy-dense commodities is required. In the group of catalytic and electrochemical processes for energy applications, we combine solid state electrochemistry with (photo) catalysis to improve the efficiency of existing and to develop new routes for energy storage.

Responsibilities and tasks:

  • Development of an electrochemical reactor.
  • Combination of the electrochemical reactor with a laser source.
  • Characterization of the new reactor.
  • Fabrication of (button) electrochemical cells with targeted characteristics.
  • Performing research on the synergy effects of the approach.
  • Prepare scientific papers and conference communications.
  • Contribute to the scientific and collaborative research environment at DIFFER.

In the group Catalysis and Electrochemical Processes for Energy Applications is a PhD position available for the development and evaluation of an innovative electrochemical device based on a proton conducting solid oxide electrolyte cells (SOEC). Utilization of SOEC for electro-fuel production from CO2 and H2O is a very promising route towards renewable energy storage. Research will be directed towards both material and processes development. Material research will be focused on improving efficiency, stability and product selectivity. To assist these goals an extra operational knob, i.e. vibrational excitation of gas phase CO2 and/or adsorbed CO on the electrocatalyst, will be investigated. A laser will be used for stimulating the vibrational excitation of molecules of interest in an appropriately modified SOEC reactor. Through the integration of SOEC devices with the extra knob of vibrational stimulation, pronounced improvements in associative catalytic reactions are expected.


We seek enthusiastic and highly talented candidates that are willing to work in an international and interdisciplinary team of physicists and chemists. The applicant should hold or be pursuing a Master degree as physicist, chemist, chemical engineer, materials scientist (or a similar education, equivalent diploma giving access to doctoral studies). Ppractical experience in the areas of solid oxide electrolyte cells, heterogeneous catalysis and material synthesis would be an asset. In addition, the ability to work well individually and as a team member is relevant. Good verbal and written communication skills in English are mandatory.


When fulfilling a PhD position at NWO-I, the Institutes Organisation of NWO, you will get the status of junior scientist.
You will have an employee status and can participate in all the employee benefits NWO-I offers. You will get a contract for four years. Your salary will be up to a maximum of 2,834 euro gross per month. The salary is supplemented with a holiday allowance of 8 percent and an end-of-year bonus of 8.33 percent.
You are supposed to have a thesis finished at the end of your four year term with NWO-I.
A training programme is part of the agreement. You and your supervisor will make up a plan for the additional education and supervising that you specifically need. This plan also defines which teaching activities you will be responsible (up to a maximum of ten percent of your time). The conditions of employment of NWO-I are laid down in the Collective Labour Agreement for Research Centres (Cao-Onderzoekinstellingen), more exclusive information is available at this website under Personeelsinformatie (in Dutch) or under Personnel (in English).
General information about working at NWO-I can be found in the English part of this website under Personnel. The 'Job interview code' applies to this position.

Additional information

Further information on the vacancy is available through the Group Leader, Dr. M. Tsampas, Tel: +31 (0) 40 3334 820. General information on working at NWO can also be found at the NWO website (www.nwo-i.nl). The 'NWO job interview code' applies to this position.


DIFFER (Dutch Institute for Fundamental Energy Research) is one of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) institutes and focuses on a multidisciplinary approach to energy research, combining physics, chemistry, engineering and materials science. The institute is based on two main strands, solar fuels for the conversion and storage of renewable energy and fusion-energy as clean and unlimited source of energy. DIFFER is developing and supporting a national network on fundamental energy research and is closely collaborating with academic institutions, research institutes and industry. As of 2015 the institute is located in a new building at the campus of Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e).