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My knowledge is shaping the future.

PhD position

Development, modelling and experimental investigation of a new and innovative concept for solar fuel production

Starting date


Duration of contract

3 years


up to German TVöD 13

Type of employment


The Institute of Future Fuels investigates processes for a sustainable production of chemicals and fuels, in particular solar-driven high temperature processes are investigated.

In one of these processes, a metal oxide is first reduced at high temperatures (>1400°C) and then oxidized with water, carbon dioxide or both at lower temperatures (900°C). Hydrogen, carbon monoxide or a mixture of them (syngas) is produced during the oxidation.

The syngas can be further processed to various fuels and chemicals, for example to kerosene via a Fischer Tropsch process. Concentrating solar systems provide the required energy; the reduction step requires most of it.

In the PhD thesis, you should further develop, evaluate and finally test an innovative solar reactor and plant concept, which is based on a particulate redox material. According to first assessments, the concept promises record-braking efficiencies. You get the chance to make them reality.

You will be part of a diverse and motivated international team aiming to build a sustainable future. With the participation in the courses of DLR’s Graduate Program you get the opportunity to educate yourself in skills like presentation techniques, project management, efficient communication, etc.

Your tasks:

  • analysis and evaluation of existing concepts for solar thermochemical fuel production
  • further development of the particle-based innovate concept
  • modelling and simulation of the system (heat and mass transfer, chemical reactions, fluid flow, particle motion, thermomechanical stresses)
  • planning, construction and operation of a prototype
  • experimental demonstration and validation of simulations

Your qualifications:

  • excellent analytical skills demonstrated by a master’s degree (or equivalent) in engineering, physics or similar subjects
  • programming experience (i.e. MATLAB, Python, C++)
  • passion for innovative research, scientific and systematic way of working
  • ability to work individually and together as part of an international team
  • good communication skills
  • good command of the English language
  • a plus is experience with modelling, simulation and experimental work in the field of process engineering
  • also, knowledge in the field of concentrating solar power, thermodynamics, process engineering, heat transfer and simulation of fluid and particle flows would help, but is no necessity

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 unparalleled scope to develop your creative ideas and accomplish your professional objectives. Our human resources policy places great value on a healthy family and work-life-balance as well as equal opportunities for persons of all genders (f/m/x). 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

Johannes Grobbel
Institute of Future Fuels

Phone: +49 2203 6014-416

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Vacancy 57240

HR department Cologne

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DLR site Jülich

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DLR-Institute of Future Fuels

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