/Synthesis of novel materials for CO2 capture and utilization

Synthesis of novel materials for CO2 capture and utilization

PhD - Hasselt | More than two weeks ago

Take part in our R&D endeavors for the energy transition towards a sustainable society
Material research will be key to enable an efficient and large-scale deployment of carbon capture and utilization (CCU) to ensure the required global energy transition. Specifically for Europe, the target is to reach a  net-zero greenhouse gas emission by 2050. Capturing CO2 from e.g. large industrial point sources to subsequently store it underground is a relative expensive process; a route to utilize the CO2 by converting it in carbonous e-fuels is in this regard much more attractive with the potential to create a circular economy.

New technologies, and with-it novel materials, are required to enable such CCU processes. Gas-diffusion electrodes combined with anionic- or protonic-exchange membranes is an emerging field of research and development, targeting an efficient and direct electrochemical conversion of CO2 in a green and high-value e-fuel. Much of the research is focusing on the electrode catalytic properties and lifetime, however, equally important is the discovery of materials that can effectively supply and control the reactants and (intermediate) products to the catalytic surface at the nano-scale – especially when targeting the higher-value C3 and C4 oxyhydrocarbons. You will conduct fundamental research to synthesis and engineering nanometer thin-film coatings on metallic electrode surfaces, tailoring its functionalities towards the technological needs.

You will be enrolled in imec’s associated lab for advanced material systems in Diepenbeek (IMOMEC) and work closely with the imec researchers working on the power-to-molecules activity taking place in Leuven and EnergyVille, Genk. The material synthesis and physicochemical characterization facilities at IMOMEC are ideal to investigate and develop new materials with a tailored chemistry. Your work will take place under the supervision of Prof. Marlies Van Bael (full professor at UHasselt and director of IMOMEC) and under the guidance of prof. Philippe Vereecken (imec fellow and professor at KU Leuven) for the electrochemical characterization of your materials.

We’re looking for candidates (m/v/x) with a passion for chemistry, enthusiasm for fundamental research targeting impactful technology, who embrace new challenges, and which endorse the strengths of a multi-disciplinary and -cultural work environment.

Required background: Chemistry, Materials Science, Nanotechnology

Type of work: Experimental

Supervisor: Marlies Van Bael

Co-supervisor: Philippe Vereecken

Daily advisor: Maarten Mees

The reference code for this position is 2023-106. Mention this reference code on your application form.

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