Postdoc position on “Electrochemical Conversion of Biomass Towards Green Artificial Sugars”

University of Twente
July 19, 2024
Offerd Salary:€ 3.877
Working address:N/A
Contract Type:Other
Working Time:Full time
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Are you passionate about electrochemical conversion processes and carbon circularity? We offer a challenging postdoc position in the PCS group in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Twente & MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology, in collaboration with industrial partners Nobian Industrial Chemicals B.V. & BTG Biomass Tech. Group B.V.

Project: “ Steering Formose Selectivity through Electrochemical Reduction of Aldehydes: Towards Conversion of Biomass to Green Artificial Sugars – FORESEE

Fuels and chemicals derived from renewable resources are desirable for both economic and environmental reasons, to close the carbon cycle and limit further accumulation of atmospheric CO2.

In this project, we will develop an electrochemical green route to convert biomass into artificial sugars or sugar alcohols, as useful platform chemicals for biomanufacturing. Our research consortium, composed of the University of Twente, Nobian Industrial Chemicals B.V. and BTG Biomass Tech, will investigate a new “electrochemically steered” formose-like process, based on the selective hydrogenation of oxygenated organic compounds derived from biomass.

The research will deal with investigating the effect of electrochemical conditions, e.g., electrolyte pH, applied potential and current density, and electrode material and surface properties, on rate, selectivity and mechanistic aspects of the condensation and polymerization of aldehyde and alcohol building blocks.

As project goal, we aim at identifying and optimizing electrochemical process conditions to produce high concentrations (>20 wt%) of monomeric, well- identified compounds, e.g., acids, monosaccharides and / or polyols.

Your profile
  • You are an enthusiastic and highly motivated researcher

  • You have, or will shortly, acquire a PhD degree in the field of electrochemistry, electrochemical synthesis, electrocatalysis

  • Knowledge of and hands-on experience on vibrational and in-situ spectroscopy techniques are a plus

  • You have a creative mindset and excellent analytical and communication skills

  • You have a good team spirit and like to work in an interdisciplinary and internationally oriented environment, and in collaboration with industrial partners

  • You are proficient in English, and can efficiently communicate the research results in oral and written forms (e.g., presentations, reports, articles)

  • Our offer
  • A full-time position for one year

  • Your salary and associated conditions are in accordance with the collective labour agreement for Dutch universities (CAO-NU)

  • A gross salary between € 3.877,- and € 5.090,- per month, depending on experience and qualifications;

  • There are excellent benefits including a holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary, an end-of-year bonus of 8.3%, and a solid pension scheme

  • A minimum of 232 leave hours in case of full-time employment based on a formal workweek of 38 hours. A full-time employment in practice means 40 hours a week, therefore resulting in 96 extra leave hours on an annual basis

  • Free access to sports facilities on campus

  • A family-friendly institution that offers parental leave (both paid and unpaid).

  • Information and application

    Are you interested in this position? Please send your application via the 'Apply now' button below and include:

  • A cover letter (maximum 2 pages A4), emphasizing your specific interest, qualifications, motivations to apply for this position. Applicants with no knowledge of and hands-on experience on electrochemistry, electrochemical synthesis, electrocatalysis, will not be considered.
  • A Curriculum Vitae (maximum 2 pages A4), including education and research experience, and references. Please attach a list of publications and conference talks separately.
  • For more information regarding this position, you are welcome to contact (Marco Altomare: [email protected])

    About the department

    The PCS group offers an international environment, with a multidisciplinary research agenda, including electrochemistry and electrocatalysis, materials science and nanotechnology, photocatalysis, photo-electrochemistry, photothermal catalysis and cutting edge in-situ spectroscopy techniques. The research program is aimed at the development of innovative materials and concepts for electrocatalytic and photocatalytic reactions with high efficiency. Industrial chemistry is included in the research portfolio, with various collaboration with industrial partners.

    The PCS group is part of the Department of Chemical Engineering and of the Faculty of Science and Technology of the University of Twente (https: // www. The research activities of the PCS group are an integral part of the ambitions of the MESA+ Institute (https: // www. to contribute to the energy transition of The Netherlands and Europe, with focus on the design, development and optimization of catalytic materials, interfaces and devices

    About the organisation

    The Faculty of Science & Technology (Technische Natuurwetenschappen, TNW) engages some 700 staff members and 2000 students in education and research on the cutting edge of chemical technology, applied physics and biomedical technology. Our fields of application include sustainable energy, process technology and materials science, nanotechnology and technical medicine. As part of a people-first tech university that aims to shape society, individuals and connections, our faculty works together intensively with industrial partners and researchers in the Netherlands and abroad, and conducts extensive research for external commissioning parties and funders. Our research has a high profile both in the Netherlands and internationally and is strengthened by the many young researchers working on innovative projects with as doctoral candidates and post-docs. It has been accommodated in three multidisciplinary UT research institutes: Mesa+ Institute, TechMed Centre and Digital Society Institute.

    Want to know more? Altomare, M. (Marco)

    Assistant Professor

    Altomare, M. (Marco)

    Assistant Professor

    Do you have questions about this vacancy? Then you can contact Marco for all substantive questions about this position and the application procedure. For general questions about working for the UT, please refer to the chatbot.



    Email:[email protected]

    How to apply Step 1

    Apply. When you see a vacancy that appeals to you, you can apply online. We ask you to upload a CV and motivation letter and/or list of publications. You will receive a confirmation of receipt by e-mail.

    Step 2

    Selection. The selection committee will review your application and you will receive a response within 2 weeks after the vacancy has been closed.

    Step 3

    1st interview. The 1st (online or in person) meeting serves as an introduction where we introduce ourselves to you and you to us. You may be asked to give a short presentation. This will be further explained in the invitation.

    Step 4

    2nd interview. In the second interview, we will further discuss the job content, your skills and your talents.

    Step 5

    The offer. If the conversations are positive, you will be made a suitable offer. If applicable, we will sign you up for screening.

    Your Colleagues
  • Steenbergen, W. (Wiendelt)
  • Personal page

  • Pizzoccaro - Zilamy, M.D. (Marie-Alix)
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  • Vargas Llona, L.D. (Laura)
  • Personal page

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