Postdoctoral Researcher Solar Fuels

Leuven - PostDoc
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More than two weeks ago

Help design the energy production of the future as our postdoctoral researcher in Solar Fuels!

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Postdoctoral Researcher Solar Fuels

What you will do

The growth of renewable energy harvesting for power generation requires reliable storage capacity to deal with the intermittency of wind and sun. Batteries are certainly one part of the solution but will probably not be sufficient to bridge seasonal variations. In addition, the forthcoming electrification of transport will need high energy density storage solutions. Again, batteries will play an important role, but also hydrogen and synfuels (e.g. methanol) will be part of the solution, for example, in freight transport.  

Hydrogen gas can be produced through the electrolysis of water – preferably with “green’ electricity from wind turbines or solar panels.  In classical electrolysis, the power generation required for the reaction is done separately from the electrolyzer.  Large throughput installations with electrolyzers designed to work at very large current densities and high pressures are needed to reduce the relative contribution of capital expenditure for the installation. However, local hydrogen production could be advantageous for certain applications and system environments. In this case. compact synergetic systems combining photovoltaic harvesting and electrochemical conversion using a similar modularity for the PV-system and the electrochemical part of the system are envisioned.  

Imec has a built up a broad knowledge in the PV-domain with world-leading results over the last decade for crystalline Si solar cells, thin-film PV cells (amongst which perovskites) and lately also stacked cells with sufficiently high output voltage to supply the driving force for water splitting.  This was evidenced by several best-in-class results achieved over the last year.  The higher voltages of these stacked cells in combination our in-house nanomesh technology providing regular nanoporous metal electrodes with very large electrochemically active area, large porosity and mechanical rigidity represent a unique toolbox to design and develop novel compact water electrolyzers with efficient gas diffusion and gas evacuation, powered by solar energy.  

We are looking for a post-doc with background in photovoltaics and/or in (semiconductor) electrochemistry to use this technology and material toolbox to come up with innovative designs, the proof-of-concept of such novel device designs, the detailed analysis of the performance-determining factors as well as a first assessment of reliability. The experimental work will be guided by electrochemical simulations. In addition, the post-doc will be enabled to extend the existing analytical equipment park with the necessary tools to evaluate the performance and detailed behavior of the thus developed solar fuel cells.

What we do for you

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 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 competitive salary.  

Who you are

We are looking for candidates who have experience in electrochemical engineering and/or photovoltaic devices. Good knowledge of fundamental electrochemistry and simulations of mass transport are a plus. Experience with conceptual design and prototyping of photovoltaic cells and/or electrochemical devices is a plus. Furthermore, you are a self-motivated person, who seizes opportunities and is enthused by new challenges.

  • You have a PhD degree in electrochemical or electrical engineering, chemistry, material science or equivalent.
  • We are looking for your knowledge in electrochemistry and/or photovoltaic devices.
  • Know-how of semiconductor electrochemistry and experience in finite-element simulations are a plus.
  • We appreciate your initiative and independent work attitude, while being part of a team. You can also guide and motivate team members in their work.
  • You are creative and like to think with the team to solve problems.
  • We value your drive for results and ability to meet stringent deadlines with quality output.
  • You are flexible to accept new challenges in the future, and to evolve together with the changing R&D demands of our high-tech environment. 
  • The imec environment requires a good team player with competent communication and reporting skills. Given the international character of imec an impeccable knowledge of English is mandatory.

This postdoctoral position is funded by imec through KU Leuven. Because of the specific financing statute which targets international mobility for postdocs, only candidates who did not stay or work/study in Belgium for more than 24 months in the past 3 years can be considered for the position (short stays such as holiday, participation in conferences, etc. are not taken into account).

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