Postdoc in Power-to-X: Renewable methanol production

Institute of Biological & Chemical Engineering, Aarhus University
Aarhus C, Aarhus (DK)
Jul 09, 2021
Aug 02, 2021
Field of specialization
Biochemical, Biotechnical, Energy / Fuels, Engineering
Work Function
Job Type

The Institute of Biological & Chemical Engineering, Aarhus University, invites qualified applicants for a 2-year postdoc within Power-to-X technology.

The position offers the applicant the possibility to participate in research and demonstration activities related to green transition and creation of the energy system of the future, with focus on one or more specific technologies within Power-to-X.

Starting Date and Period
The position is for two years and is available from October 1st, 2021 or as soon as possible hereafter.

Job description
The main responsibilities of the candidate will be:

  • Planning and execution of pilot scale experiments with eSMR process for production of renewable syngas
  • Participation in the design,  commissioning and operation of a new methanol synthesis unit
  • Propose modification on plant and equipment for improved performance and efficiency
  • Data processing and analysis from experimental campaigns
  •  Drafting  scientific publications and technical reports
  • Active participation in the supervision and training of MSc, BSc and PhD students

The post doc will focus on research activities related to a novel, electrically driven steam reforming process for production of syngas (eSMR). The aim is to provide proof of concept and validation of the eSMR process by investigating the performance of setup in the operational margins and transient conditions to increase the technology readiness level (TRL) of process from TRL4 to TRL6. Later, research will shift to integration of a methanol synthesis loop with the eSMR setup, and operation and testing of the planned green methanol process. The research will also shift to the performance evaluation of the complete integrated unit.

Further, we envision to couple the activities to the broader research within new energy systems and fossil-free materials. There are several research activities ongoing within the Power-to-X field, dealing with specific technologies and processes as well as coupling and integration of these. The energy research facility in Foulum is unique in the academic world and allows testing of novel ideas at an industrially relevant scale. We expect to develop facilities and activities in collaboration with academic and industrial partners over the coming years.

The work will be carried out together with dedicated, cross-disciplinary team working with green transition and energy conversion. The team comprise researchers, technical personnel, project management, students and industrial partners. The candidate is expected to take part in supervision of students at BSc, MSc and PhD level.

Your profile
The candidate is required to have a PhD in process engineering, chemical engineering or similar (or about to complete the degree). A strong academic background in applied research and publication record are expected. The candidates must demonstrate ability to conduct basic and applied interdisciplinary research, and experience with technology transfer from university to industry is beneficial.
Prior experience in operation, design and maintenance of chemical processes at pilot scale is desired. As the job entail operation of a chemical plant at high pressure and temperature, the candidate should be able to demonstrate his/her capability in the operation, diagnostic and troubleshooting of high pressure equipment, sensors and process controllers. Additional professional certificates, qualifications and experience in HSE, process safety (HAZOP, HAZID, LOPA, etc.), experience with electrical system and PLC programming are an advantage. Experience with analytical tools such as GC is a valuable skill for the candidate.

In summary:

  • A PhD degree in process engineering, chemical engineering or similar (or about to)
  • Practical experience with design and operation of pilot- or full scale process equipment.
  • Solid knowledge within chemical processes and process technology
  • The ability to work independently and to generate new ideas and creative approaches.
  • Good skills in communication of research results internationally as documented by publications in peer-reviewed journals
  • Is passionate about science and engineering and working in a team dedicated to green technologies.

Who we are
The Institute of Biological and Chemical Engineering (BCE) has strong research sections in Environmental Engineering and Materials & Process Engineering. Close collaboration with our neighboring departments (Mechanical Engineering, Electrical & Computer Engineering, Molecular Biology & Genetics, iNano, Biosciences, Food, Agroecology and Chemistry) is a natural part of our culture. The successful applicant will be working with Chemical Engineering and will produce and disseminate knowledge and research results. Translation of results into solving relevant societal challenges is a highly prioritized part of our work.

In the AU Foulum energy research site, AU’s own full-scale biogas plant serves as a unique platform for conducting research within energy conversion and the carbon economy value chain at a scale relevant to industrial application. Here, we are focusing on different Power-to-X (-gas, -chemicals, -fuels) technologies and combinations hereof in close collaboration with industrial partners. The post doc will be part of a dedicated team comprising researchers, technical personnel, project management and students.

The position relates to a project funded by the Energy Technology Development and Demonstration Program, conducted in close collaboration with Haldor Topsoe A/S and other industrial partners. The project relates to production of renewable methanol on basis of biogas and renewable electricity.

What we offer
The successful candidate is offered:

  • Possibility to contribute to solutions for issues of high importance and focus for society
  • Access to unique pilot-scale experimental facilities
  • Becoming part of a research area, department and environment in fast development
  • A working environment characterized by cross-disciplinarity and team work
  • A workplace characterized by professionalism, equality and a healthy work-life balance

Place of employment and place of work
The position includes two permanent workplace addresses in Aarhus and Foulum respectively. The attendance at each workplace address is by agreement with your immediate supervisor. At the time of employment, the distribution between the workplace addresses is expected to be 1 day with place of employment in Aarhus and 4 days with place of employment in Foulum. In Aarhus the place of work is Åbogade 40, 8200 Aarhus N. In Foulum, the place of work is Burrehøjvej 43. The area of employment is Aarhus University with affiliated institutions.

Contact Information
Further information about the position may be obtained from:

  • Researcher Dr. Behzad Partoon (, +45 22 52 16 59).
  • Project Manager Thomas Lundgaard (, +45 29 16 31 35)

Please upload your application before August 2st, 2021.

Application procedure
Shortlisting is used. This means that after the deadline for applications – and with the assistance from the assessment committee chairman, and the appointment committee if necessary, – the head of department selects the candidates to be evaluated. All applicants will be notified whether or not their applications have been sent to an expert assessment committee for evaluation. The selected applicants will be informed about the composition of the committee, and each applicant is given the opportunity to comment on the part of the assessment that concerns him/her self. Once the recruitment process is completed a final letter of rejection is sent to the deselected applicants.

Letter of reference
If you want a referee to upload a letter of reference on your behalf, please state the referee’s contact information when you submit your application. We strongly recommend that you make an agreement with the person in question before you enter the referee’s contact information, and that you ensure that the referee has enough time to write the letter of reference before the application deadline.
Unfortunately, it is not possible to ensure that letters of reference received after the application deadline will be taken into consideration.

Formalities and salary range
Technical Sciences refers to the Ministerial Order on the Appointment of Academic Staff at Danish Universities under the Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation.

The application must be in English and include a curriculum vitae, degree certificate, a complete list of publications, a statement of future research plans and information about research activities, teaching portfolio and verified information on previous teaching experience (if any). Guidelines for applicants can be found here.

Appointment shall be in accordance with the collective labour agreement between the Danish Ministry of Finance and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. Further information on qualification requirements and job content may be found in the Memorandum on Job Structure for Academic Staff at Danish Universities.

Salary depends on seniority as agreed between the Danish Ministry of Finance and the Confederation of Professional Associations.

Aarhus University’s ambition is to be an attractive and inspiring workplace for all and to foster a culture in which each individual has opportunities to thrive, achieve and develop. We view equality and diversity as assets, and we welcome all applicants.

Research activities will be evaluated in relation to actual research time. Thus, we encourage applicants to specify periods of leave without research activities, in order to be able to subtract these periods from the span of the scientific career during the evaluation of scientific productivity.

Aarhus University offers a broad variety of services for international researchers and accompanying families, including relocation service and career counselling to expat partners. Read more here. Please find more information about entering and working in Denmark here.

Aarhus University also offers a Junior Researcher Development Programme targeted at career development for postdocs at AU. You can read more about it here.

The application must be submitted via Aarhus University’s recruitment system, which can be accessed under the job advertisement on Aarhus University's website.

Aarhus University
Aarhus University is an academically diverse and research-intensive university with a strong commitment to high-quality research and education and the development of society nationally and globally. The university offers an inspiring research and teaching environment to its 38,000 students (FTEs) and 8,000 employees, and has an annual revenues of EUR 885 million. Learn more at

2. August 2021.