PhD Position in Development and Characterization of Model Co2 Sorbents

A PhD scholarship in material sciences is available at ETH Zurich. Applications should be submitted as soon as possible.

ETH Zurich is one of the world's leading universities specializing in science and technology. It is renowned for its excellent education, its cutting-edge fundamental research and its efforts to put new knowledge and innovations directly into practice. The Laboratory of Energy Science and Engineering in the Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering invite applications for a PhD position in development and characterization of model CO2 sorbents

Carbon dioxide capture and storage is a technological solution to mitigate climate change by removing CO2 from flue gas streams or the atmosphere and storing it in geological formations. Inexpensive alkali earth metal oxides (MgO and CaO) feature high theoretical CO2 uptakes, but suffer from poor cyclic stability and slow kinetics. Our fundamental understanding of the underlying CO2 capture, regeneration and deactivation pathways has improved very little over recent year, leading in turn to a slow progress in designing improved, yet practical CaO and MgO sorbents. Hence, in this project we aim at obtaining an understanding of the underlying mechanisms that control the ability of an alkali metal oxide to capture a large quantity of CO2 with a high rate, to regenerate and to operate with high cyclic stability. Achieving these aims relies on the ability to fabricate model structures and to characterize in great detail their surface chemistry, morphology, chemical composition and changes thereof under reactive conditions. This makes the development of operando and in situ characterization tools an essential prerequisite. Advances in these areas shall allow achieving the overall goal of this project, viz. to formulate a roadmap to fabricate improved CO2 sorbents through their precisely engineered structure, composition and morphology.

The PhD student participating in this research project is expected to develop model alkali earth metal oxide structures and characterize surface chemistry, morphology, chemical composition and changes therein under reactive conditions. To this end, advanced in- and ex-situ characterisation techniques, including XAS, XRD, electron microscopy, DRIFTS and Raman spectroscopy will be applied to these model systems.

Applicants for this position are expected to have a MSc in Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, or Material Sciences. Experience in the field of material synthesis and/or material characterization tools is important. We are looking for highly motivated, committed, and creative individuals, able to work in a team and with excellent communication skills. Working in a top-level research environment with advanced laboratory infrastructure, the candidate will have a unique opportunity to develop their research abilities. The position is available from June 2019 onwards.


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