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October 19th 2017

Scientific aim: Energy storage concepts will be increasingly used in the near future as a result of increased implementation of renewable energy sources in energy infrastructure. In this aspect, batteries are considered as suitable candidates for compensating the intermittency of the renewable sources like solar and wind energy. Sodium-sulphur batteries (NaSBs), are considered as potential energy storage systems for stationary electric storage applications. The main advantages of NaSBs are the high energy density, high efficiency of charge/discharge, long cycle life, and that they are fabricated from abundant and low cost materials. NaSBs batteries employ sodium (Na) and sulphur (S) as active electrode materials, and beta-alumina (Al2O3) ceramic membranes as the Na+-conducting electrolyte. Traditional NaSBs operate at high temperatures of 300-350o C, where both of the electrodes are in a molten state for having the optimum electrochemical reactivity, and for the beta-alumina membranes to have the optimum ionic conductivity. However, safety issues related with high temperature operation triggered novel NaSBs battery concepts, which aims at operating temperatures just above the melting point of sodium (i.e. 120-150o C). These operating conditions introduce challenges that need to be addressed for optimizing the new NaSBs.

Job description
Responsibilities and tasks:

  • Cathode formulations characterization with suitable electrochemical methods and operando Raman spectroscopy;
  • Support development of optimal cathode formulation for NaSTOR battery;
  • Investigation of performance limiting mechanisms (e.g. transport phenomena, liquid-solid phase transformations etc.);
  • Determination of operating windows, phase diagrams;
  • Part-time involved in testing in Exergy's laboratory in Arnhem;
  • Prepare scientific papers and conference communications;
  • Contribute to the scientific and collaborative research environment at DIFFER.

DIFFER (Dutch Institute for Fundamental Energy Research) is one of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) institutes and focuses on a multidisciplinary approach of the energy research combining physics, chemistry, engineering and materials science. The institute is based on two main strands, solar fuels for the conversion and storage of renewable energy and fusion-energy as clean and unlimited source of energy. DIFFER is developing and supporting a national network on fundamental energy research and is closely collaborating with academic institutions, research institutes and industry. The position will be based at DIFFER - the Dutch Institute for Fundamental Energy Research (www.differ.nl) and the working locations will be at TU Eindhoven and (part-time) at the Industry Park IPKW in Arnhem.

Job requirements
We seek enthusiastic candidates with a proven can-do attitude, coming up with practical working solutions is a must. The candidates has experience in electrochemical characterization techniques such as cyclic voltammetry, electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (with equivalent circuit modeling) and other diagnostic tools to improve performance. The candidates should have a PhD degree in electrochemistry or chemical engineering. Good verbal and written communication skills (in English) are mandatory. The successful candidate should have demonstrated expertise in batteries research. Experience with Raman spectroscopy is a plus.

Conditions of employment
NWO-I, the Institutes Organisation of NWO prefers candidates who have qualifying experience (e.g. as PhD student or postdoctoral researcher) in a scientific research institute abroad. You will be employed by NWO-I for a fixed period of two years. Your salary will be up to a maximum of 4,089 euro gross per month, depending on your level of experience. The salary is supplemented with a holiday allowance of 8 percent and an end-of-year bonus of 8.33 percent.
The conditions of employment of NWO-I are laid down in the Collective Labour Agreement for Research Centres (Cao-Onderzoekinstellingen), more exclusive information is available at this website under Personeelsinformatie (in Dutch) or under Personnel (in English).
General information about working at NWO-I can be found in the English part of this website under Personnel. The 'Job interview code' applies to this position.

For further information please contact: Dr. M. Tsampas, Tel: +31 (0) 40 3334 820; for information on the NaSTOR development please contact: Dr. Gert Jan Jongerden.

In case you are interested you can apply by submitting an application letter, a full resume (including grade list). Please refer to vacancy 17.015. The letter of application may be sent electronically to: vacancies@differ.nl




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