PhD - Leuven | More than two weeks ago
Advanced electrolyzers are a promising platform for the so-called Power to molecules approach, in which electric current is employed to transform molecules on demand. This transformation addresses two of the most pressing challenges facing humankind: renewable hydrogen production and CO2 conversion. To be successful, both in terms of performance and stability, future electrolyzer development must be done in consideration of the whole entity, to ensure proper interplay between electrodes and electrolyte.
At imec, the current development of nano architectured electrodes is complemented with the design of sophisticated electrolytes that complement these electroactive components. Advanced ceramic-based nanocomposite electrolytes are introduced as a suitable alternative to the current polymeric membrane-based technology, with the aim of allowing long term operations at low alkalinity and eventually even in water, as for PEM technology. However, these nanocomposites require chemically stable materials in suitable architectures to host and integrate the expected anionic exchange functionality. They should offer reliable integration paths with the electrodes ranging from traditional liquid electrolyte configuration to operation directly from the gas phase.
In this PhD project, you will design, develop and characterize new nanostructured ceramics and related composites employing sol gel chemistry combined molecular and/or hard templates and physically induced self-assembly. These nanostructured ceramics will be further combined with anion-conducting materials, tailored to fulfill the specific requirements of water or CO2 reduction common problems, including tolerance to alkaline and or reactive oxygen species driven corrosion as well as carbonate formation. You will explore and rationalize the inherent conductivity and stability of advanced electrolytes in realistic environments and operative conditions.
Required background: Chemistry, materials science and engineering, nanotechnology
Type of work: 70% experimental 30% data and literature analysis
Supervisor: Philippe Vereecken
Daily advisor: Matias Jobbagy
The reference code for this position is 2023-107. Mention this reference code on your application form.