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New PhD opportunities through INPhINIT Fellowships funded by La Caixa (2)

The ECPU of IMDEA Energy offers a PhD projects in the framework of the INPhINIT Fellowships funded by La Caixa. This program offers 35 fellowships for early-stage researchers of any nationality to pursue their PhD studies in research centres accredited with the Spanish Seal of Excellence Severo Ochoa, María de Maeztu or Health Institute Carlos III and Portuguese units accredited as “excellent” or “exceptional” according to the evaluation of the Fundação de Ciência e Tecnologia. 


PhD fellowship "la Caixa INPHINIT" in Development of Solar Redox Flow Batteries

Solar Flow Batteries (SFBs) are a new type of devices that integrate solar energy conversion and electrochemical storage. The operation principle of SFBs is built on the working mechanism of RFBs and photoelectrochemical (PEC) cells. In SFBs, the solar energy absorbed by photoelectrodes is converted into chemical energy by charging up redox couples dissolved in electrolyte solutions in contact with the photoelectrodes. To deliver electricity on demand, the reverse redox reactions are carried out to release chemical energy stored in redox couples as one would do in the discharge of a normal redox flow battery (RFB). Well-designed, SFBs could represent a more cost-effective, efficient, and compact approach for stand-alone off-grid electrification, such as solar home systems in remote or rural areas.
This research project will address the following interconnected aspects: (1) Developing compatible and energy level matching photoelectrode materials and redox electrolytes to maximize the photocharging efficiency (i.e. solar-to-chemical efficiency, STC%), (2) full characterization of redox couples and photoelectrodes, (3) understand the fundamental aspects of interfaces between the photoelectrode and the redox electrolyte under illumination, and (4) design and testing of SFB devices.

This project is envisaged as a joint endeavor between two research units of IMDEA Energy; the Electrochemical Processes Unit with a proven experience on the development of RFB, and the Photoactivated Processes Unit with a strong background on Photo and Photo-electrochemical processes. In particular, both supervisors hold ongoing ERC-Consolidator Grants on Redox Flow Battteries (MFreeB / R.Marcilla) and Photoreduction processes (HyMAP / V. de la Peña O’Shea). This PhD project will take advantage of the solid background of both groups and will gather together the most recent achievements in RFB and photoelectrode to make a big contribution in the nascent field of Solar Flow Batteries

The main objective of this PhD project is the development of efficient Solar Redox Flow Batteries able to be charged with solar light by means of photoelectrodes which absorb the incident solar energy and transfer the generated electrons to charge up redox couples in the electrolytes. The development of compatible photoelectrodes and redox electrolytes and the design and testing of SFBs will be key activities of this PhD project.

Your tasks:
• Synthesis and physicochemical characterization of semiconductor materials based on oxides, mixed oxides and inorganic/organic hybrid materials.
• To develop transparent photoelectrodes based on previously synthesized materials.
• Formulation and electrochemical characterization of redox electrolytes based on organic and organometallic redox pairs.
• Determination of photocharging efficiency of developed photoelectrode/redox electrolyte pairs.
• Design of solar flow battery (SFB) devices by employing 3D design&fabrication tools.
• Characterization of (photo)/electrochemical performance of SFBs under illumination conditions.
• To actively participate within the research group, communicating and presenting research at meetings and workshops.
• To contribute to research publications and presentations as required.
• To analyze and communicate complex ideas, concepts and data using appropriate methods.
• To generate research output and contribute to the development of independent and original ideas.

• Bachelor Degree on Chemistry, Physics, Material Science, Chemical Engineering or similar.
• A Master’s degree (or equivalent) in Chemistry, Physics, Material Science, Chemical Engineering or similar.
• Expertise in electrochemistry and/or photo electrochemistry is desired.
• Knowledge on redox flow batteries is desired.
• Excellent written and oral communication skills in English

We offer:
• To join the Electrochemical Processes Unit & the Photoactivated Processes Unit of IMDEA Energy formed by a talented group of researchers with excellent infrastructures.
• Further continuing education, which includes a variety of training modules as well as transferable skills courses and active participation in workshops and conferences.
• Short secondments in prestigious interactional research institutions (3-6 moths).

What is funded:
Three annual payments of €34,800 each. Where applicable, the amounts corresponding to the Social Security contributions payable by the employer (in this case, the host institution), as well as any other compulsory fee, whether current or that may be provided for in a future legal framework, will be deducted from the yearly gross amount of €34,800 to be received by the fellow, plus €3.564 per year for additional costs (conferences, courses, etc.). An additional prize of €7.500 is paid upon completion of the PhD.

Duration: 3 years
Mobility: Candidates cannot have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Spain for more than twelve months in the three years immediately prior to the deadline for applications.
Application and documentation: Candidates must apply using the online application platform available in the “Fellowships” section on the ”la Caixa” Foundation website. The application must be completed entirely in English.


Deadline: 4 February 2021 at 2 pm (Central European Time - CET)..
For more information, please contact Rebeca Marcilla (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or Víctor de la Peña O’Shea (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Tags: Redox Flow Batteries, Electrochemical Energy Storage, POLYSTORAGE, Horizon 2020, Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant , Job Opportunity