PhD techno-economic investigation of electrolysers for green hydrogen production

Department

Faculty of Science and Engineering

Organisation

University of Groningen

Job description

PhD position on “Techno-economic investigation of alternative anodic reactions in electrolysers for green hydrogen production”.

Water electrolysis is of high relevance in the context of the hydrogen economy as this process allows making use of renewable resources for the production of green hydrogen. Of the two half-reactions involved in water electrolysis - the oxygen evolution reaction (OER) at the anode and the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) at the cathode - the former is the most challenging in terms of energy input requirements while it yields a low-value product as oxygen. Therefore, oxidative reactions involving lower energy costs and generating products of higher value than oxygen are highly attractive as alternative anode processes. In this project, you will focus on comparing OER to two alternative anode reactions, the oxidation of water to hydrogen peroxide, and the electrooxidation of glycerol. The project comprises two parts: (1) a scientific and technological study comparing the three anode reactions in terms of Faradaic efficiency (i.e. product selectivity) at different industrially relevant current densities with the aim of identifying energy input requirements and optimising electrocatalyst materials; (2) an economic investigation focusing on determining the costs and benefits (i.e. cost estimation, revenue generation and potential revenue streams) associated with the three anodic reactions. The combination of the two parts, the technological and an economic analysis of the three anode reactions, will allow identifying which one is the most favourable for a potential investment given the scale and location of the green hydrogen production facility. This combination of technological and economic investigation is a novel, interdisciplinary approach that aims at providing a comprehensive evaluation of the relevance of hydrogen peroxide synthesis and glycerol oxidation as alternatives to OER as anodic reactions in electrolysers for green hydrogen production.

This is a multidisciplinary research project supported by the Ubbo Emmius Foundation that will be carried out for approximately 2/3 at the Engineering and Technology Institute Groningen (Faculty of Science and Engineering) under the supervision of Prof. Paolo P. Pescarmona and Dr. Dulce Morales, and for approximately 1/3 at the Department of Operations (Faculty of Economics and Business) under the supervision of Dr. Stuart Zhu.


Organisation
The University of Groningen is a research university with a global outlook, deeply rooted in Groningen, the lively capital of the Northern Netherlands. Quality has been our top priority for over four hundred years, and with success: the University is currently in or around the top 100 on several influential ranking lists. Our community has an open and informal character with students and staff from around the world.

The position we offer will be embedded in Engineering and Technology institute Groningen (ENTEG - https://www.rug.nl/research/enteg/) of the Faculty of Science and Engineering and in the Department of Operation of the Faculty of Economics and Business (https://www.rug.nl/feb/?lang=en). This highlights the strong multidisciplinary nature of this project.
Groningen (https://www.visitgroningen.nl/en) is a historic university town in the northern Netherlands with a population of approximately 230,000 people, of which almost 25% are students. This makes Groningen the city in The Netherlands with the highest student population density, the youngest city in the country, and one of the youngest in Europe. Groningen offers very high quality of life, surrounded by beautiful nature, and is a lively city with a remarkably diverse cultural scene. You can find more information on http://groningenlife.nl/en


Requirements

The candidate should have an interest and an inclination for multidisciplinary research and should possess a solid technical background at Master level in a relevant discipline (e.g. a Master in Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Materials Engineering, Industrial Engineering & Management) and a background in economic analysis or the will to acquire of perfection such knowledge during the first year of the PhD by attending selected courses at the Faculty of Economics and Business. Previous research experience and skills in electrocatalysis would be particularly appreciated.

Conditions of employment

The University offers you in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities:
- a salary of € 2,770 gross per month in the first year, up to a maximum of € 3,539 gross per month in the final year for a full-time working week
- a holiday allowance of 8% gross annual income and an 8.3% end-of-the-year allowance
- a full-time position (1.0 FTE). The successful candidate will be offered a temporary position of one year with the option of renewal for another three years. Prolongation of the contract is contingent on sufficient progress in the first year to indicate that a successful completion of the PhD thesis within the next three years is to be expected. A PhD training programme is part of the agreement, and the successful candidate will be enrolled in the Graduate School of Science and Engineering

Job Application

A complete application (preferably as a single pdf file) includes the following:

1. A cover-letter detailing your motivation to apply for this PhD project (1 page max).
2. Your CV
3. A certified list of grades from your undergraduate degree(s) up to the moment of application (in case your degree has not yet been awarded).
4. The names and e-mail addresses of up to 3 academic referees who can provide recommendation letters for you.

You may apply for this position until 30 November 2023 11.59 pm / before 1 December 2023 Dutch local time (CET) by means of the application form (click on "Apply" below on the advertisement on the university website).

Only submissions via these application forms will be considered. The selection of candidates will continue until the position is filled. We are looking to fill the position soon, but there is some flexibility in the start date. For more information, please contact the program leader, Prof. Paolo Pescarmona (p.p.pescarmona@rug.nl).
The University of Groningen strives to be a university in which students and staff are respected and feel at home, regardless of differences in background, experiences, perspectives, and identities. We believe that working on our core values of inclusion and equality are a joint responsibility and we are constructively working on creating a socially safe environment. Diversity among students and staff members enriches academic debate and contributes to the quality of our teaching and research. We therefore invite applicants from underrepresented groups in particular to apply. Our selection procedure follows the guidelines of the Recruitment code (NVP): https://www.nvp-hrnetwerk.nl/nl/sollicitatiecode and European Commission's European Code of Conduct for recruitment of researchers: https://euraxess.ec.europa.eu/jobs/charter/code.

Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.

Additional information

For additional information, please contact:

Prof. Paolo Pescarmona
p.p.pescarmona@rug.nl

In your application, please always include the job opening ID V23.0696

Extra informatie kan worden verkregen via een van de volgende links:

Engineering and Technology institute Groningen (ENTEG)

Digital application form