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November 26, 2020

ESR 13

Testing the activity of small cluster to nanometre-sized catalyst for electrochemical CO2 hydrogenation

Dr. Deepak Pant / Prof. Ewald Janssens (KUL)

Objectives

  • To develop Gas Diffusion Electrodes for selected cluster-based catalysts for electrochemical CO2 reduction towards methanol
  • To develop a model/prototype electrode for CO2 reduction to methanol
  • To validate the model electrode with other cluster-based catalysts for other products, e.g. oxalate

Expected Results

  • Fabrication of gas diffusion model/prototype electrodes based on different cluster-based catalysts supported on carbon developed for electrochemical cells (small size 10 cm² to medium size 400 cm²)
  • Testing the electrodes in electrochemical environment
  • Validating the model electrode with other catalysts toward selective production of other products

Dissemination

  • Catchy Outreaching Events

Planned Secondments

  • KUL: cluster deposition and structural characterisation & educational aspects of the doctoral training at KUL
  • DTU: training in evaluating new model GDEs for dynamic operation and electrolyte selection

Job announcement

Doctoral Student / Early Stage Researcher (ESR) position

Title Testing activity of small cluster to nanometre-sized catalyst for electrochemical CO2 hydrogenation
 
Requirement Master in Chemical engineering, Material Science, Electrochemistry or equivalent
 
Project Description
The electrochemical conversion of CO2 is a promising technology to overcome several challenges facing the implementation of carbon-neutral energy sources as it provides a means of storing renewable electricity in a convenient, high energy-density form. Although converting CO2 to fuels is not a new concept, the field has not substantially advanced in the last 30 years primarily because of the challenge of discovery of structural electrocatalysts and the development of membrane/electrode architectures for efficient collection of reactants and separation of products. The electrochemical CO2 conversion is currently gaining interest due to its positive impact on the global CO2 emissions and its potential to store intermittent renewable energy for later use. Current research efforts in the electrochemical conversion of CO2 have achieved moderate efficiencies and reasonably high current densities, although not at the same time. In recent years, catalysts for the selective reduction of CO2 into different interesting products have been developed, but catalysts that simultaneously exhibit low overpotentials and high current densities needed for commercial applications are still lacking.
In order to develop an efficient CO2 conversion process, this PhD project will develop and characterize in detail Gas Diffusion Electrodes (GDEs) for selected cluster-based catalysts for electrochemical CO2 reduction towards methanol and further validate the model electrode with other cluster-based catalysts for other products, e.g. oxalate.
 
Job description
-You prepare a doctoral thesis in the field of electrochemical CO2 conversion. This PhD is part of the Marie Curie ITN CATCHY and will be carried out at the Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO), Belgium with a secondment to KU Leuven, Belgium and DTU, Denmark.  
-You publish scientific articles related to the research project of the assignment.
-You contribute to outreach and research at VITO and KUL under the framework of CATCHY project.
 
The requirements for the PhD candidate are
You hold a master degree in Chemical engineering, Material Science, Electrochemistry or equivalent.
You can submit outstanding academic results.
Students in the final year of their degree can also apply.
Your academic qualities comply with the requirements stipulated in the university’s policy.
You are quality-oriented, conscientious, creative and cooperative.
You have a profound knowledge of English.
 
We offer
-a doctoral scholarship for a period of one year, renewable for three years after positive evaluation;
-the start date is 1 May 2021 or sooner but certainly before July 2021;
-a dynamic and stimulating work environment.
 
How to apply?
Applications may be submitted online below, and should include a copy of your CV and a cover letter until the closing date 31 January 2021. Please check the employment conditions before applying.
A pre-selection will be made from amongst the submitted applications.
The remainder of the selection procedure is specific to the position and will be determined by the selection panel.
For questions about the profile and the description of duties, please contact Dr Deepak Pant (deepak.pant@vito.be) and Prof. Ewald Janssens (ewald.janssens@kuleuven.be).