CMOS and beyond CMOS
Discover why imec is the premier nanoelectronics R&D center in the development of industry-relevant solutions for advanced logic & memory devices.
Connected health solutions
Explore the technologies that will power tomorrow’s wearable, implantable, ingestible and non-contact devices.
Life sciences
As a pioneer in nanoelectronics, imec brings the power of chip technology to the world of healthcare.
Sensor solutions for IoT
Imec develops innovative solutions for sensor networks, high speed networks and sensor technologies for the Internet of Things.
Artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence is no longer the stuff of science fiction: its technologies are ready and its possibilities are real. It’s time to explore them, and imec is ready to help you.
More expertises
Discover all our expertises.
Research
Be the first to reap the benefits of imec’s research by joining one of our programs or starting an exclusive bilateral collaboration.
Development
Build on our expertise for the design, prototyping and low-volume manufacturing of your innovative nanotech components and products.
Solutions
Use one of imec’s mature technologies for groundbreaking applications across a multitude of industries such as healthcare, agriculture and Industry 4.0.
Venturing and startups
Kick-start your business.Launch or expand your tech company by drawing on the funds and knowhow of imec’s ecosystem of tailored venturing support.
/Job opportunities/Novel electrode architectures for efficient electrosynthesis of valuable fuels from CO2 and water

Novel electrode architectures for efficient electrosynthesis of valuable fuels from CO2 and water

PhD - Leuven | More than two weeks ago

Innovations for a sustainable world

Global warming as a result of industrial age CO2 emissions is a prime societal concern with a growing popular awareness calling for policy measures. A behavioral change is important, but technology also needs to come with solutions to reduce emissions and, hopefully, even reverse it. The acid rain crisis of the 80's has been resolved by the introduction of newly developed catalyst convertors together with proper environmental policies. A similar approach is needed for the CO2 crisis, which poses an even larger potential threat to the planet. With a rapidly growing world population and continuous increase in energy demand, however, it is understood that a lone switch to renewable energies will not suffice to keep the temperature rise well below +2oC above pre-industrial levels. In addition, carbon dioxide is not only a product of energy by combustion, but a waste product of chemical industry as well. For example, the cement industry is responsible for 10% of carbon emissions, with about half of that as by-product of the lime production process itself. Therefore, a technology that can convert CO2 into valuable products by electrolysis, would turn CO2 into a valuable precursor and give it economic value. Especially liquid chemicals such as methanol and ethanol, would be immediately compatible with current large volume chemical synthesis. More specifically, for industrial applications, CO2 electrolysis conversion units will need stable long-term operation (>20.000 hours) at substantial current densities (>200 mA/cm2) and independent of availability of sun or wind. For residential applications, i.e. to generate renewable "home fuels" from ambient CO2, the current densities can be somewhat lower; e.g. between 25 to 100 mA/cm2 when integrated with photovoltaic panels. At imec we are looking into concepts for simultaneous capture and conversion of CO2 directly from air or point sources such as factory chimneys to enable residential and industrial installations for local production of renewable fuels and synthesis of fine chemicals. At large scale, it will help reduce CO2 emissions and could be the technological instrument to eventually reverse the trend with "negative emissions". In this PhD you will investigate novel nanostructured electrode architectures for the efficient electroreduction of CO2 and/or water to valuable chemicals. These novel electrode architectures are of interest for both electrolyzers in liquid cells as well as for gas diffusion electrodes which capture the gasses directly from the ambient.

Required background: Chemistry, Materials and nanotechnology

Type of work: 80% experimental, 20% simulations

Supervisor: Philippe Vereecken

Daily advisor: Joachim John, Maarten Mees

The reference code for this position is 2020-081. 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: CSC2020-43.