Technical University of Denmark (DTU)

PhD scholarship in High-temperature Corrosion of Cheap SOEC IC-steels

Technical University of Denmark (DTU)

2800 Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark

The Department of Energy Conversion and Storage at the Technical University of Denmark invites applicants for a PhD position on the topic of high-temperature corrosion of cheap SOEC interconnect steels.

Our department carries out R&D in sustainable energy conversion technologies for the future energy system, and are among the world’s leaders in research and development of solid oxide fuel cell and electrolysis cell technology. We have excellent facilities and competences for fabrication, testing and characterization of such devices and are around 200 members of staff.

You will be a member of the Solid State Chemistry section counting around 20 members, but will also interact with colleagues in other sections of the department and with external project partners.

The PhD position is part of the project “EP2Gas: Efficient Power2Gas combining SOEC and biomass gasification” (funded by EUDP). Electrolysis of water will become a key technology in the future energy system to balance increasing amounts of renewable electricity production (from wind and solar) against the demand and to provide sustainable fuels to the transport sector. When renewable electricity production exceeds the demand, the surplus can be used for production of hydrogen via steam electrolysis for instance in a Solid Oxide Electrolysis Cell (SOEC). This hydrogen can advantageously be added to “producer gas” obtained by thermal gasification of biomass to create a synthesis gas, which can be further catalytically upgraded to fuels like e.g. methane or methanol.

The overall objective of the EP2Gas project is to develop efficient, and cost effective P2G (methane) solutions based on integration of an SOEC, a biomass gasifier and a catalytic methanation reactor. One of the technical challenges for the SOEC technology to work in this capacity is to improve the lifetime of the interconnect plates used in the stacks and to reduce their cost. Currently stakeholders in the field strive to introduce cheap ferritic stainless steels to replace the expensive specialty alloys and to extend the lifetime of these by applying suitable protective coatings.

Responsibilities and tasks
You will work on cheap IC steels for SOEC applications aiming to gain a better understanding of the corrosion process, that limit their operational lifetime. This will be achieved by detailed modelling of the oxidation process under realistic stack operation conditions. The formulated model should be capable of handling different alloy compositions, grain boundary diffusion effects, and the interaction between protective coatings and the formed oxide scale. It should be capable of predicting the oxide scale growth kinetics and evolving composition profiles. You will conduct experiments to validate the model. The obtained knowledge will be utilized to further improve coatings and alloy microstructure/composition.

Candidates should have a two-year master’s degree (120 ECTS points) or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to a two-year master’s degree.

A Master’s degree in chemistry, chemical engineering, materials science, physics or similar is required.

In addition, we look for applicants with:

  • Strong skills in materials science
  • Experience in mathematical modelling and computational simulations
  • Ability to work in a multi-disciplinary environment
  • Excellent writing and communication skills in English
  • Knowledge on methods like CALPHAD, DICTRA, Phase Field simulations is further advantageous.

Approval and Enrolment
The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval, and the candidate will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes at DTU. For information about our enrolment requirements and the general planning of the PhD study programme, please see the DTU PhD Guide.

The assessment of the applicants will be made by Senior Researcher Ming Chen and Professor Peter Vang Hendriksen.

We offer
DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and academic freedom tempered by responsibility.

Salary and appointment terms
The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed upon with the relevant union. The period of employment is 3 years.

You can read more about career paths at DTU here.

Further information
Further information may be obtained from Senior Researcher Ming Chen tel.: +45 46 77 57 57 or Professor Peter Vang Hendriksen, tel.: +45 46 77 57 25.

You can read more about DTU Energy on

Please submit your online application no later than 21 August 2019 (local time).

Apply online at

Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link “Apply online”, fill out the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include:

  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and Excel spreadsheet here)

Candidates may apply prior to ob­tai­ning their master’s degree but cannot begin before having received it.

Applications and enclosures received after the deadline will not be considered.

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

At DTU Energy it is our vision to be a world-leading cross-disciplinary research department within sustainable technologies for energy conversion and storage, and to enable a sustainable society through innovative technology development building on fundamental insights.

DTU is a technical university providing internationally leading research, education, innovation and scientific advice. Our staff of 6,000 advance science and technology to create innovative solutions that meet the demands of society, and our 11,200 students are being educated to address the technological challenges of the future. DTU is an independent university collaborating globally with business, industry, government and public agencies.

Please apply via recruiter’s website.