Postdoctoral researcher nanostructured electrodes for carbon capture and PEM electrolyzers
What you will do
There are many puzzle pieces that are required to enable the energy transition towards a sustainable future. It is undeniable that production of renewable energy alone is not sufficient. Energy storage in form of hydrogen or batteries, as well as other means of decarbonization, such as CO2 capture and reduction to useful products, are required in order to limit and eventually reverse our impact on global warming.
At imec we developed a novel type of nanostructured electrode with a unique combination of surface area, porosity, and mechanical stability. While we are already applying them for water electrolysis and CO2 reduction, developing them further and thereby unlocking their full potential for a wider range of applications, is a major challenge. Apart from fundamental insights that will benefit the general use of these nanostructured electrodes, part of this project is targeted specifically at their development towards the combination of CO2 capture with H2 generation in a novel type of electrolyzer, as well as towards their utilization in acidic PEM electrolyzers. Both applications pose new challenges in terms of mass transport, as well as mechanical and (electro-)chemical stability of the electrodes.
The nanostructured electrodes are fabricated by template-assisted electrodeposition. Within this postdoctoral research, you will build on this existing process and develop electrodes that are stable in acidic environments, using difficult-to-plate materials, which are electrodeposited from non-aqueous electrolytes. Furthermore, you will create a fundamental understanding of their physical and mechanical properties. This incorporates a combination of state-of-the-art analysis methods of mechanical properties, with a deep dive into the geometry, crystallographic structure, and potential defects of these nanostructures. With this knowledge, you will then explore possible pathways to further improve their mechanical stability under increasing loads and develop novel flow-cell type electrolyzers that utilize these optimized electrodes.
We expect from you as postdoctoral researcher:
- Delivering inventive contributions to the development and optimization of nanostructured electrodes
- Assisting in project management of these activities within imec, which includes follow-up and reporting of tasks
- Setting out the experimental plans to timely achieve the targets defined in these projects
- Discussing and defending these experimental plans with other team members and scientific management
- Timely and accurately executing and analyzing of the experiments of these plans in collaboration with other team members, including researchers, PhD students and process assistants.
- Regular and effective reporting of the progress to the management of imec and of our partners
- Daily supervision of PhD, master, and intern students
- Ensuring good practice in the lab and setting up process and characterization protocols in your field of expertise
What we do for you
This is a 2 year project: the contract starts for 1 year and will be extended with a second year.
We offer you the opportunity to join one of the world’s premier research centers in nanotechnology at its headquarters in Leuven, Belgium. With your talent, passion and expertise, you’ll become part of a team that makes the impossible possible. Together, we shape the technology that will determine the society of tomorrow.
We are committed to being an inclusive employer and proud of our open, multicultural, and informal working environment with ample possibilities to take initiative and show responsibility. We commit to supporting and guiding you in this process; not only with words but also with tangible actions. Through imec.academy, 'our corporate university', we actively invest in your development to further your technical and personal growth.
We are aware that your valuable contribution makes imec a top player in its field. Your energy and commitment are therefore appreciated by means of a market appropriate salary with many fringe benefits.
Who you are
- You have a PhD degree in Science or in Science of Engineering
- You have experience in electrochemistry, specifically in electrodeposition
- Knowledge of electrolyzer systems is a plus
- You are creative and like to think with a team to solve problems
- You have experience in collaborative research projects and can effectively summarize a project status
- You take initiative and can work on your own, while you keep on consulting and discussing with a team
- You can plan your work and that of your colleagues according to your deadlines and deliverables
- You are result-driven and can meet quality output with stringent deadlines
- You can guide and motivate team members in their work
- You have an impeccable knowledge of English, given the international character of imec