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Two PhD Positions (DIFFER, Eindhoven): CO2 valorisation in biogas – from thermal to non-equilibrium plasma chemistry

The two PhD positions form a project (granted within the NWO Solar-to-Products programme) in which a plasma approach to dry reforming (i.e. conversion of CO2 …

4 maanden geleden


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


The two PhD positions form a project (granted within the NWO Solar-to-Products programme) in which a plasma approach to dry reforming (i.e. conversion of CO2 and CH4 into synthesis gas) is investigated. The plasma approach enables compatibility with (intermittent) sustainable energy sources. An innovative combination of non-equilibrium CO2 activation and thermal CH4 decomposition is investigated to allow for selective and energy efficient conversion of biogas into valuable chemicals and/or liquid fuels. The societal relevance is to realize current biogas potential and enhance solar and wind potential and hence to contribute to a sustainable energy future.
Responsibilities and tasks
- perform laser Raman spectroscopy to investigate in situ excitation distributions;
- perform ex situ Fourier Transform Infrared spectroscopy to monitor reactor performance;
- develop advanced reactor (flow) geometries;
- develop (laser) diagnostic for flow characterization.
The project will be carried out under the supervision of Gerard van Rooij and Michael Gleeson and in collaboration with Shell.


The two PhD positions connect to the two main aims within the project: understanding how to achieve and exploit vibrational excitation in CO2 for a surface reaction with carbon (the reverse Boudouard reaction) and understanding the interplay between flow dynamics and the overall reactor power balance (reverse vortex in relation to heat recirculation, supersonic flow in relation to vibrational non-equilibrium). Laser Raman scattering is the baseline diagnostic for achieving such understanding in the microwave plasma reactors.


You are excited to work in an international environment. We will consider applicants with a Master's degree in Physics, Chemistry and Mechanical Engineering. Preferably you have experience with laser spectroscopy.


When fulfilling a PhD position at NWO-I, 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 vacancies.differ.nl.


DIFFER (Dutch Institute for Fundamental Energy Research) is one of the NWO Institutes and focuses on a multidisciplinary approach of the 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).