The solid oxide electrolysis cell (SOEC) technology has a huge potential for future mass production of hydrogen, mainly due to its high electrical-to-chemical energy conversion efficiency. However, the durability and the performance of SOEC devices are inferior to that of other competitive electrolysis technologies inhibiting the commercialization of SOECs. The proposed PhD thesis is related to the investigation of surface processes, which cause electrode degradation of solid oxide electrolysis cells. The work is part of a collaborative research project involving 5 academic and 2 industrial partners (funded by H2020 European program). State-of-the art solid oxide electrode assemblies and/or electrode materials will be provided by consortium partners while, if necessary, model SOEA will be also fabricated in Strasbourg. The PhD work will focus on the characterization of the electrodes surface under working SOEC conditions using advanced analytical tools available in the laboratory (XPS, in situ XRD, TEM, SEM, AFM) or at synchrotron facilities. The aim will be to correlate the chemical and structural characteristics of the surface with the electrochemical performance, under operation conditions and in real time, in order to understand the dynamical and transient behavior of SOEC devices.
Requirements: Applicants should have a strong background in physical chemistry and particularly in surface chemistry. Previous experience in chemical synthesis methods and surface analysis techniques (XPS, AFM etc) would be a plus. In addition, basic knowledge of electrochemistry is desirable. The capabilities to work independently and in a research team will be appreciated. Good level in English, both written and spoken is essential.
Application Procedure: Candidates should send their detailed CV to: [email protected]