Two PhD scholarships in Catalytic Synthesis of Methanol and Ammonia

tirsdag 23 mar 21

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Frist 20. april 2021
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In the future production of chemicals will likely change from large central plants using fossil fuels  to a decentralized plants where hydrogen produced from solar and wind power is reacted with CO2 from point sources or N2 from the atmosphere to synthesize chemicals locally. Such a transition necessitates improved catalysts to facilitate the synthesis of the chemical products at the milder conditions necessary to make decentralized production feasible.

The purpose of one PhD-project is to develop improved catalysts for methanol synthesis from CO, CO2 and H2 whereas the other project seeks to develop improved catalysts for ammonia synthesis from H2 and N2. This will be sought achieved through an increased understanding of how the interplay between catalyst structure/components and reaction conditions impacts the catalytic activity. This work entails synthesis of catalytic materials, catalytic tests in high-pressure flow reactors and catalyst characterization using a variety of experimental techniques.

The PhD project is funded by the Villum Foundation Center for Science of Sustainable Fuels and Chemicals (V-SUSTAIN, grant 9455), and involves collaboration with several other DTU departments and foreign universities. The employed candidate will become part of the CHEC research group at the Department of Chemical Engineering, which carries out research on catalysis and high temperature processes.

Responsibilities and tasks 

  • Chemical synthesis of catalytic materials by wet chemistry techniques such as impregnation and precipitation.
  • Measurements of catalytic activity in flow reactors operating at high pressure including product characterization by gas chromatography and mass spectroscopy.
  • Commissioning and operation of a high pressure setup for thermogravimetric analysis for studying adsorbate coverages at real reaction conditions.
  • Kinetic modelling to analyse experimental results.
  • Performing catalyst characterization using techniques such as infrared spectroscopy, chemisorption and temperature programmed reaction or desorption.
  • Work with collaborators on catalyst characterization by electron microscopy and X-ray based techniques.

You must 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. 
Preference will be given to candidates with a master's degree in chemical engineering or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to the master's degree in engineering.

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 Associate Professor Jakob Munkholt Christensen and Professor Anker Degn Jensen.

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.

The workplace will be DTU Lyngby Campus

You can read more about career paths at DTU here.

Further information
Further information may be obtained from Assoc. Prof. Jakob Munkholt Christensen (+45 45 25 28 10, email: or Prof. Anker Degn Jensen (+45 45 25 28 41, email:

You can read more about Department of Chemical Engineering at

If you are applying from abroad, you may find useful information on working in Denmark and at DTU at DTU–Moving to Denmark.

Your complete online application must be submitted no later than 20 April 2021 (Danish time). 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)

You may apply prior to ob­tai­ning your master's degree but cannot begin before having received it.

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

The CHEC Research Centre at DTU Chemical Engineering is internationally recognised for research in catalysis, combustion, gasification, pyrolysis and emission control.

Technology for people
DTU develops technology for people. With our international elite research and study programmes, we are helping to create a better world and to solve the global challenges formulated in the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Hans Christian Ørsted founded DTU in 1829 with a clear vision to develop and create value using science and engineering to benefit society. That vision lives on today. DTU has 12,000 students and 6,000 employees. We work in an international atmosphere and have an inclusive, evolving, and informal working environment. Our main campus is in Kgs. Lyngby north of Copenhagen and we have campuses in Roskilde and Ballerup and in Sisimiut in Greenland.