In view of the increased share of renewable electricity in future energy systems, many research activities are devoted to electroconversion strategies for the chemical industry and fuel production which may replace current fossil-fuel based methods. The electrochemical reduction of carbon dioxide is a popular process, which holds the advantage of (1) mitigation of CO2 accumulation in the atmosphere and (2) the production of value-added chemicals and fuels. Although significant progress has been made in understanding this electrocatalytic reaction in the past decades, an effective understanding of how process variables may influence the performance of this reaction, is still lacking. The latter will be ultimately required for efficiently upscaling this technology to a demonstrator or on industrial scales. In this project, insight in reaction performance is obtained via the development of a unique multiscale model which captures transport phenomena and reaction kinetics on macro-and microscale as well as processes on the atomic scale in the vicinity of the electrode surface. In this PhD you will investigate the relationship between the solid-state physics of the electrode and the ionic environment on the solution side. From these insights, methodologies will be developed to tailor the mechanism of the CO2 reduction towards desired products with high selectivity. These non-classical electrocatalysis principles will be implemented and tested with gas diffusion electrodes for demonstration of the artificial leaf electrolyzer.
Required background: Chemistry, Materials Science, Nanotechnology
Type of work: 30% simulation, 70% experimental
Supervisor: Philippe Vereecken
Daily advisor: Maarten Mees
The reference code for this position is 2020-078. Mention this reference code on your application form.
Chinese nationals who wish to apply for the CSC scholarship, should use the following code when applying for this topic: CSC2020-40.