The PhotoCatalytic Synthesis (PCS) group at the Faculty of Science and Technology of the University of Twente (UT, Enschede, The Netherlands) offers 1 PhD position for the project “Development of Robust Electrodes for Hydrogen-Bromine Redox Flow Batteries”. The research is funded by the RELEASE Consortium – financed by multiple companies, research institutes and the Dutch Science Foundation (NWO), and will be performed in close collaboration with Elestor, a start-up company located in Arnhem, The Netherlands. Elestor is a company that is actively developing a hydrogen-bromine (HBr) redox flow battery (RFB) in order to enable and roll out large scale and cost effective electricity storage for renewable electricity on a 24/7 basis. The Elestor HBr battery consists of a stack (similar to a fuel cell), in which hydrogen and bromine can react to create electric energy and hydrogen bromide. The thermodynamic reversibility of this reaction is high, so that a regenerative fuel cell system can be created with high efficiency.
The aim of this research is to synthesize and evaluate nanostructured, robust catalysts with excellent durability and reversible performance in the reduction of protons to hydrogen (charging), and oxidation of hydrogen to protons (discharging). Various advanced methodologies, including spark ablation, sputtering and de-wetting, and wet chemical coating methodologies will be utilized to synthesize alloys and core-shell structures. The PhD student will pursue experimental work comprising such catalyst fabrication technologies, and furthermore perform catalyst characterization and assessment of electrocatalytic properties using laboratory cells at the UT. The most promising systems will be incorporated in redox flow systems at Elestor, and will be tested for performance and durability. Special attention will be given to study the origin of deactivation, e.g. in relation to bromine cross-over through the membrane from the anodic to the cathodic compartment.
The research will be carried out in the PhotoCatalytic Synthesis group (PCS group – University of Twente) under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Guido Mul (Principal Investigator) in collaboration with Elestor (Dr. Wiebrand Kout).
The candidate will spend an approximate 30-40% of his/her time at the facilities of Elestor, and participate in the vibrant and dynamic atmosphere of a start-up company. Furthermore, the recruited researcher will have the opportunity to work as part of a national, interdisciplinary team within the RELEASE consortium, based at universities and industrial firms throughout The Netherlands.
She/he will gain a unique skill-set comprising electrochemistry, material science and cell design/ engineering, as well as an overview of different RFB technologies and their implementation at prototype level. She/he is expected to finish the project with a PhD thesis and to disseminate the results through patents (if applicable), publications in peer-reviewed journals and presentations at international conferences.
You will have a fulltime employment contract for four years and can participate in all employee benefits the UT offers.
The gross monthly salary starts with € 2.395,- in the first year and increases to € 3.061,- in the fourth year of your employment;
You will receive a holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary and a year-end bonus of 8.3%;
The research will result in a PhD thesis at the end of the employment period.
Bedrijfsprofiel Universiteit Twente
University of Twente (UT)
University of Twente (UT) has entered the new decade with an ambitious, new vision, mission and strategy. As ‘the ultimate people-first university of technology' we are rapidly expanding on our High Tech Human Touch philosophy and the unique role it affords us in society. Everything we do is aimed at maximum impact on people, society and connections through the sustainable utilisation of science and technology. We want to contribute to the development of a fair, digital and sustainable society through our open, inclusive and entrepreneurial attitude. This attitude permeates everything we do and is present in every one of UT's departments and faculties. Building on our rich legacy in merging technical and social sciences, we focus on five distinguishing research domains: Improving healthcare by personalised technologies; Creating intelligent manufacturing systems; Shaping our world with smart materials; Engineering our digital society; and Engineering for a resilient world.
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