Postdoc in Electrocatalytic CO2 Reduction

mandag 26 apr 21

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Frist 24. maj 2021
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CO2 electrolysis is an excellent approach to use society’s dominant greenhouse gas as a means to provide the base chemicals such as CO, ethanol, and ethylene on which the chemicals industry is built.  While CO2 electrolysis allows for a wide variety of carbon-based products, we still do not have control over the selectivity and the activity still needs improved. 

This project will look to improve the selectivity and activity of CO2 electrolysis catalysts with the focus being on highly reduced products (i.e. greater than 2 electron transfer reductions). In particular, we will look to shift selectivity towards acetaldehyde and ethanol and away from ethylene and acetate. This position will primarily be applied in nature, thus significant focus will be on gas diffusion electrode (GDE) type reactors and the integration of catalysts, gas diffusion layers, ionomers and membranes.  The highly technical side of operating such a complex device as a GDE reactor often hides the scientific principles driving the reaction.  Thus a large part of this project will involve designing ways to maximize the amount of characterization we can achieve from a GDE reactor. Only with a strong understanding of what is taking place within the reactor, can we then modify the catalyst, ionomer or operating conditions to optimize selectivity to ethanol.

At DTU Physics we already have three gas diffusion electrode reactors with in-line gas chromatography (GC) and ex-situ HPLC, thus you will be able to build off an already operational system.  Validation of our results is essential thus our set-ups are designed to measure both anode and cathode products.  Control of temperature, pressure, and humidity are all parameters we are in the process of integrating into our device, and we would expect you to be involved in this area as well. Thus, strong engineering competencies are needed.

As part of this project there is also the possibility to focus on fundamental studies as well.  We are significantly involved both experimentally and theoretically in discovering new alloy catalysts, thus there is the possibility to get involved in this aspect.  We already have multiple H-cell reactors in-line with gas chromatographs allowing for a quick start to any new catalyst development.

The project is funded by the SELECTCO2 and will take place at the SurfCat laboratories at DTU Physics. In these laboratories we have 3 Sniffer chip devices, 25 potentiostats, 4 RDE set-ups, 5 standard gas chromatographs and 1 GC-MS, 2 magnetron sputter chambers, 2 mass-selected cluster source devices, 5 XPS (one with in-line electrochemical set-up), 3 gloveboxes, 2 XRD set-ups (one allowing in-situ annealing with gas flow), ICP-MS, FTIR, 3 full time technicians, and a sufficient number of wet-labs, fume hoods, and furnaces. We also have access to clean room facilities and electron microscopy via DTU Nanolab, as well as a consultant on innovation who has helped start up 3 start-ups in the last 8 years from the SurfCat section of DTU Physics.

It is essential that the successful candidate is highly ambitious as well as open minded and willing and able to work as part of a team. The candidate should have a PhD degree in Physics, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Material Science or a similar field or will expect to have that degree within the immediate future. The candidate should have extensive experimental experience working with electrocatalytic reactions, and working with CO2 electrolysis would be highly beneficial.

We offer
DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and academic freedom tempered by responsibility.

Salary and appointment terms
The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed upon with the relevant union. The post-doctoral position is for at least 1 year. The start date is negotiable.  It can be as early as August 1 2021, but can be no later than January 1 2022.

You can read more about career paths at DTU here

Further information
For further information about the research at SurfCat at DTU Physics at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) please inspect

Should you have any queries regarding the positions, please contact Associate Professor Brian Seger or professor Ib Chorkendorff

If you are applying from abroad, you may find useful information on working in Denmark and at DTU at DTU – Moving to Denmark.  

Application procedure
Your online application must be submitted no later than 24 May 2020 (local time). Apply online at

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 (Max one page))
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and PhD diploma
  • List of publications
  • Names and e-mail addresses or telephone numbers of 2-3 references.

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

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DTU develops technology for people. With our international elite research and study programmes, we are helping to create a better world and to solve the global challenges formulated in the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Hans Christian Ørsted founded DTU in 1829 with a clear vision to develop and create value using science and engineering to benefit society. That vision lives on today. DTU has 12,900 students and 6,000 employees. We work in an international atmosphere and have an inclusive, evolving, and informal working environment. Our main campus is in Kgs. Lyngby north of Copenhagen and we have campuses in Roskilde and Ballerup and in Sisimiut in Greenland.