PhD opportunities

CANCELED -Synthesis and characterization of electrocatalysts for CO2 reduction

Thesis proposal

Area of expertiseEnergtique et gnie des procds
Doctoral SchoolSystems Engineering, Materials, Mechanics, Energy
SupervisorMme Sandrine BERTHON-FABRY
Research unitEnergy and Processes
Starting dateOctober 1st 2020
KeywordsCO2, electrocatalysts, Synthesis, characterizations
AbstractContext and challenges
Intensive consumption of fossil fuels leads to CO2 emissions modifying the climate. Among the different ways of converting CO2, and in contrast to capture and storage, electrochemical CO2 reduction techniques (ECR or CO2R) from renewable electricity are a promising way to convert CO2 into value-added fuels and chemicals and reduce the greenhouse effect. Concerning low-temperature techniques, despite the progress made, many drawbacks remain, particularly on the electrocatalyst: problem of stability (degradation of catalytic activity), scarcity and high cost of catalysts based on noble metals, competitive hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) which generally takes place in aqueous solutions, hindering the selectivity of the reduction and the efficiency of CO2, over potentials, low exchange current densities ...

Scientific objectives
The objective of the thesis is to design, develop and evaluate new, cost-effective, nanostructured electrocatalysts to reduce CO2 and convert it into value-added chemicals. These materials will be characterized physico-chemically (SEM, BET, DRX, ...) and electrochemically in order to establish a link between the texture, structure, the composition of the catalyst support, the distribution and size of the catalyst particles deposited on it on the selectivity (type and quantity) and the durability of the electrocatalyst.

Approach - Methods
A nanotextured carbonaceous support with a large specific surface area will be synthesized and nanoparticles of catalyst will be deposited on it. The texture, structure and composition of the support will be evaluated to determine their influences. The variation in texture will allow to observe its impact on mass transport properties during operation and on the stability of the catalyst deposited onto the surface of the support during ageing. The variation in composition will modify the electronic interaction between the surface and the catalyst, the CO2 adsorption properties and the selectivity of the electrocatalyst. Copper nanoparticles will be used as a catalyst because of their low cost and selectivity in binding CO2- intermediate, and in reducing CO to higher reduction products such as alcohols and hydrocarbons. Performance evaluation will be done at low temperature (<100C) by following the species and the quantities produced.
ProfileProven ability in experimental research, well organized and self-motivated, good communications skills both orally and written in English.

Good skills in chemistry, material sciences and electrochemistry.

To apply: send CV + a cover letter + 2 references to Sandrine Berthon-Fabry,
FundingContrat de recherche
PartnershipProjet europen ECOTOF en cours de montage