PhD position

Experimental and theoretical CO2 Capture through solar thermochemical looping

Starting date

1 June 2018

Duration of contract

3 years


up to German TVöD 13

Type of employment


"Cutting-edge research requires excellent minds – particularly more females – at all levels. Launch your mission with us and send in your application now!" Prof. Pascale Ehrenfreund - Chair of the DLR Executive Board

Your mission:

The PhD thesis studies a solar system to capture CO2, through CaO looping. The CaO produced through concentrated solar energy, is used as CO2 sorbent, to capture CO2 from the flue gases of cement plants, power plants or other plants. This allows at the same time to store and eventually transport solar energy and to capture CO2 from industrial sites. The project aims to demonstrate the complete CaO loop. In the first high temperature step, limestone is transformed into lime through an endothermic reaction (calcination). In the second step, the reverse exothermic reaction takes place (carbonation) and limestone is formed again to complete the cycle.

The PhD will cover different areas of the process. First an analysis of the field of applications will be carried out, through an analysis of the flue gases and the location of different plants. A material study will follow to define suitable operating conditions for the chosen processes, achievable efficiencies, and improved material cyclability.

The key component is the solar reactor. This will be a rotary kiln, as the one shown in figure, in which the particles are directly heated by solar radiation. The reactor operates already in open configuration, the main challenge is to make it gas tight to enable to operate in a pure CO2 atmosphere. This means the presence of a window which needs to be kept clean during operation. Although the study focuses on the present process, window cleaning is a central topic for any directly irradiated solar reactor. A solution will be defined through coupled experimental and numerical model, and could be then applied to several solar reactors. A gas cleaning system will be considered through recirculation of a pure CO2 stream.

A possible scale up of this solution for the reactor and the complete process will be proposed.

The thesis will be will be carried out within a research project. During the thesis, the candidate is part of a team consisting of engineers for the design of the components, experts on material and solar reactors and experts on process modelling. 

Your qualifications:

  • University degree in mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, process engineering or similar
  • CAD tools (Autodesk Inventor 2010) optional
  • experience with simulation, in particular CFD simulation (e.g. Ansys) optional
  • experience in experimental work optional
  • independent and structured way of working
  • good communication skills
  • fluent in English and German language skills

Your benefits:

Look forward to a fulfilling job with an employer who appreciates your commitment and supports your personal and professional development. Our unique infrastructure offers you a working environment in which you have unparalled scope to develop your creative ideas and accomplish your professional objectives. Our human resources policy puts great value on a healthy work-life balance as well as equal opportunities for men and women. Individuals with disabilities will be given preferential consideration in the event their qualifications are equivalent to those of other candidates.

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Technical contact

Dr.-Ing. Thomas Fend
Phone: +49 22 036012-101

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Dr. Stefania Tescari
Institute of solar research

Phone: +49 2203 601-2402

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Vacancy 16554

HR department Cologne

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DLR site Cologne, Headquarters

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DLR Institute of Solar Research

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