PhD position - High-temperature/high-pressure electrochemical COx reduction (V37.3768)

PhD position - High-temperature/high-pressure electrochemical COx reduction

Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry
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Job description

About the organization:

The Netherlands Center for Multiscale Catalytic Energy Conversion (MCEC) is a multidisciplinary research program. Within this program chemists, physicists and engineers from Utrecht University (UU; commissioner of the MCEC-program), Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) and the University of Twente (UT) join forces in order to address one of the grand challenges that our society faces today: sustainable energy conversion. Different research teams work together to develop efficient processes for the conversion of renewable raw materials, such as non-edible biomass, waste and solar energy, fuels and chemical building blocks. MCEC gives academics the opportunity to work on important scientific topics in not previously existing partnerships, and thus creates the conditions for innovative, groundbreaking and multidisciplinary research, including both experimental and theoretical approaches.

MCEC is a so-called Gravitation Program, funded by the Dutch Ministry of education, Culture and Science (OCW). The program is cofounded with a grant that has been awarded by Marie Skłodowska-Curie COFUND program.

What we are searching for

For the second phase of the MCEC research program, MCEC is looking for a PhD candidate for the research project High-temperature/high-pressure electrochemical COx reduction”.

A key ingredient of a sustainable energy system is the ability to store excess renewable energy in the chemical bonds of dense energy carriers for later use. As renewable energy will be available mostly in the form of electricity there is a need to convert electric to chemical energy. In this project, the researchers will explore novel operating windows for the direct electrochemical reduction of CO2 and CO in water to fuels that can be later used to generate heat and electricity.

The central idea of the project is to combine electrochemistry with thermal catalysis in order to achieve conditions that are similar to those of Fischer-Tropsch synthesis. In order to operate at elevated temperature, a high-pressure cell has been developed. The main approach is to identify suitable catalysts and conditions for electrochemical Fischer-Tropsch synthesis. Exploring the surface composition of supported metal particles under these unusual conditions will be carried out in the unique near-ambient pressure X-ray photoelectron spectrometer installed in Eindhoven in the framework of the MCEC program.

When realized, this technology can offer fast, scalable and efficient storage of green electricity via CO2 waste streams (biomass conversion, air capture) or CO waste streams (chemical industry) in fuels and chemicals. It provides a way to integrate electricity as an energy source in the chemical industry starting from simple molecules. Keywords:

  • Electricity
  • CO2/CO electroreduction
  • Near-ambient pressure XPS
  • Catalyst development
  • Electrochemical Fischer-Tropsch

Job requirements

MCEC is looking for a highly motivated and creative PhD candidate who has:

  • an excellent master's degree or an international equivalent in the relevant fields of Chemistry, Physics, Chemical Engineering and Materials Engineering;
  • a strong interest in sustainable energy conversion;
  • excellent research and scientific writing skills;
  • perseverance and an independent, pro-active working style;
  • the willingness to look beyond the borders of his or her own discipline and strong motivation to work in a multidisciplinary team;
  • excellent collaboration and communication skills (written and verbally) in English

Conditions of employment

We offer a challenging job for four years in a highly motivated team at a dynamic and ambitious University. You will work with innovative analytic equipment and you will be part of a highly profiled multidisciplinary collaboration where expertise of a variety of disciplines comes together. The TU/e is located in one of the smartest regions of the world en part of the European technology hotspot ‘Brainport Eindhoven’; well-known because of many high-tech industries and start-ups. A place to be for talented scientists!


The gross monthly salary in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement of the Dutch Universities (CAO NU), starts with € 2.325,- in the first year to € 2.972,- in the fourth year. Besides this the TU/e has holiday- and end-of the year allowances, an excellent package of attractive benefits for employees and a modern sports complex. Assistance for finding accommodation can be given. Especially for PhD students the TU/e also offers opportunities for personal development. We do this by offering every PhD student a series of courses that are part of the Proof program as an excellent addition to your scientific education.

More information is available on the website of Eindhoven University of Technology:  

Information and application

Additional practical information about the MCEC program can be obtained from dr. Nina Versteeg (, more information about this vacancy can be obtained with E.J.M. Hensen ( As part of the selection procedure, the candidate is expected to give an outline of his/her research plans in a written report and an oral presentation.

More information about the Netherlands Center for Multiscale Catalytic Energy Conversion (MCEC) can be found here: 

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 801359.

Sending your applications:
Candidates are asked to submit an application package consisting of (1) an application form, (2) a motivation letter, (3) a curriculum vitae, (4) copies of relevant diplomas and grade lists and (5) a video pitch (more information about this can be found in the application form.

Please upload your complete application package by using the vacancy portal of the Technical University of Eindhoven (see button below). Candidates who are invited for an interview will be asked to prepare a short presentation, either in person or via videoconference.

Application deadline is  31-03-2019.