PhD - Leuven | More than two weeks ago
Anthropogenic CO2, originating from e.g. power generation, transportation, or agricultural practices, is a main contributor to global warming. Increased environmental awareness compounded by the ever-increasing demand for energy, necessitate innovative solutions for lowering CO2 emissions. At imec, we see low temperature electrochemical valorization of CO2 as a promising technology. The two most used metallic electrocatalysts are silver, which results dominantly in CO, and copper, which is particularly interesting material as it is the only monometallic known to reduce CO2 into high value multi-carbon products. There are numerous studies that report the high conversion efficiency both catalysts, but the reported values are instable. Although lack of long-term stability, is a widely cited problem, there are limited studies on the origin. Utilizing the ability of IMEC to create high purity metallic wafers and avoiding other contamination sources, degradation due to poisoning by impurities of the catalysts has been ruled out. Nonetheless, the efficiency of CO2 reduction significantly decreases with time, indicating poisoning by reaction adsorbates.
In this project, you will work to understand the long-term degradation mechanism and develop mitigation strategies, focusing on both electrolyte additives and electrode coatings. You will gain experience with electrochemical measurements (chronoamperometry/chronopotentiometry, as well as electrochemical impedance spectroscopy) and will detect products using gas chromatography. Additionally, ex situ characterization methods, e.g. X-ray crystallography, scanning electron microscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. The group is very interdisciplinary, so candidates from a variety of disciplines and prior experiences are encouraged to apply. You will collaborate with other Ph.D. students, researchers, and scientific directors.
Required background: chemistry, material science, fysics
Type of work: experimental
Supervisor: Philippe Vereecken
Daily advisor: Nina Plankensteiner
The reference code for this position is 2023-108. Mention this reference code on your application form.