Bioelectrochemical Engineer

Electro-Active is looking for a Bioelectrochemical Engineer to assist with the scale up of our microbial electrolysis system for sustaining high levels of hydrogen production from food waste. The position will lead and assist in the execution of experiments to optimize reactor operation and performance across different scales and reactor designs. The ideal candidate will have a highly successful academic record, experience in laboratory work related to microbiology/biochemical engineering, high attention to detail, and the capability to undertake independent research tasks. An interest in sustainability and next-generation renewable energy technology as well as desire to work in a dynamic, fast-pace startup environment is a plus.

JOB OVERVIEW

  • Design new experiments to probe reactor systems and test a variety of conditions to optimize hydrogen production
  • Execute research experiments by performing various laboratory protocols and procedures
  • Prepare materials and reports on the results of experiments and progress on milestones
  • Guide and train interns in the maintenance and operation of bioelectrochemical systems
  • Ensure data quality and integrity of assigned experiments

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS

  • Background in microbiology, molecular biology, biochemical engineering, with experience working with bioreactor systems preferred
  • Wet lab experience and knowledge of general laboratory and industrial safety and potential hazards including proper protective clothing, chemical containment and biosecurity
  • Previous experience with bioelectrochemical systems including microbial fuel cells or microbial electrolysis cells is required
  • DESIRABLE QUALIFICATIONS
  • Experience with scale-up of MFCs or MECs
  • Prototyping and hardware development experience

EDUCATION

Bachelor’s or master’s degree in an engineering or science discipline (e.g. Bioprocess Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Biology, Environmental Engineering,).

Interested candidates please submit a resume and cover letter to aborole@electroactive.tech. Location: Knoxville, TN. Relocation package will be provided. The position will remain open until filled. Candidates with less experience may be considered for internship positions.

Institution contact information

Knoxville TN USA

Contact email address

aborole@electroactive.tech

Deadline

12-31-2020

External link

https://www.electroactive.tech

Looking back at the first ISMET virtual meeting

We are looking back to our first VIRTUAL ISMET conference, which took place October 7th-9th. Despite all current restrictions in getting together, the ISMET community enjoyed an inspiring exchange of new research outcomes and ideas during this meeting of around 300 scientists with great talks and poster presentations.

We thank our organizers Catarina Paquete, Fernanda Jimenéz-Otero and Lucinda Doyle for taking on this challenge and managing a conference with around 18 time zones.

For the next year, we nevertheless hope to continue our in-person meetings at our regional conferences.

ISMET awards 2020

The ISMET community warmly congratulates Dario Shaw for obtaining the 2020 ISMET Discovery Award for his work on an electro-annamox process (Nature Communications 2020) and Xi Chen for receiving the 2020 ISMET Innovation Award for her work on spontaneous hydrogen evolution in BES (Energy and Environmental Science 2020).

Dario is a PhD student in the group of Pascal Saikaly at the Water Desalination and Reuse Center, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia and Xi Chen is Postdoc in Jason Ren’s lab at Princeton University.

Dario Shaw et al. (2020). “Extracellular electron transfer-dependent anaerobic oxidation of ammonium by anammox bacteria”, Nat. Commun. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-020-16016-y

Xi Chen et al. (2019). “Electrical decoupling of microbial electrochemical reactions enables spontaneous H2 evolution” Energy Env. Science;  https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2020/ee/c9ee02571e#!divAbstract

Congratulations to both! Well done!

Postdoctoral Researcher Position @ TU Braunschweig: Energy storage in electrotrophic-electrogenic biofilms.

Microbial electrogenesis, i.e., the production of electricity from organic compounds such as those found in wastes or marine sediments – and microbial electrosynthesis – the electrotrophic storage of electricity into organic energy storage molecules, are two prime application goals for microbial electrochemical technologies. Recent findings illustrate the possibility of combining electrotrophy and electrogenesis in one, switchable electrode-grown biofilm. This opportunity opens new ways to combine bioelectrochemical energy storage and power generation in a single device.
What are the mechanisms of the underlying metabolic processes, and how is the electrotrophic and electrogenic metabolism coupled with the extracellular electron transfer that connects cellular processes with the electrode? Single investigation methods, such as voltammetry or spectroscopy alone, will not allow achieve sufficient information depth. In collaboration with the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, DC – and by using sophisticated in operando techniques, such as differential electrochemical mass spectrometry – this research project aims to study the mechanisms of such switchable biofilms.

Applications should be sent by e-mail (keyword “ONR-Project”) to Uwe Schröder (uwe.schroeder(at)tu-braunschweig.de), and must contain the following documents.

– Motivation Letter including contact information for two references
– Curriculum Vitae including complete address, phone number, email address, educational background, language skills, and work experience-
– Copies of diploma and transcript of grades in original language and in English or German translation
– Additional documents should be provided on request
– All documents should be in PDF format, preferably in a single file. Personal data and documents relating to the application process will be stored electronically. Please note that application costs cannot be refunded.

The open position is to be filled as soon as possible. The employment will be arranged by the administration of the TU Braunschweig (salary TVL E13, including health insurance, 1.5 years contract).

Institution contact information

Technische Universität Braunschweig, Germany
Institute of Environmental and Sustainable Chemistry

Contact email address

uwe.schroeder@tu-braunschweig.de

Deadline

20.10.2020

External link

https://www.tu-braunschweig.de/en/oekochemie/job-offers/postdoc

PhD position in bioelectrochemical enrichment of metals

The University of Bremen is offering (under the condition of job release) at the earliest possible date:

Ph.D. position in bioelectrochemical enrichment of metals
Salary group 13 TV-L (75 %), 36 months

in an interdisciplinary project at the interface of microbiology, electrochemistry and material sciences. The motivation of this PhD project is the search for new technological approaches for the extraterrestrial fabrication of metal alloys under tough environmental constraints, in particular the limitation of utilizing mineral and energy resources available in situ on Mars or Moon. More specifically, the project aims at exploring bio-based possibilities to extract iron species from regolith and enrich them as purified iron compounds. These compounds are then used in steel-making processes based on non-conventional metallurgy. In this sub project, microbial electrochemical technologies such as microbial fuel cells (MFCs) and microbial electrolysis cells (MECs) will be used for enhanced production and selective recovery of metal ion species. Microbial communities developing in MFCs will be characterized using state-of-the-art tools such as high-throughput sequencing, metagenomics and metatranscriptomics.

Within the new research initiative in close collaboration with the Hochschule Bremen (HSB), Ph.D. students are supervised by a team of experienced scientists ranging from electrochemistry, material sciences to microbiology and biomimetics. Additional training and support are offered by international graduate Programmes within the MAPEX Center for Materials and Processes, the MarMic Graduate School and the Biomimetic-Innovation-Centre (HSB). These offers include expert as well as skills and methods courses, coaching, networking opportunities, and the opportunity to compete for internal funds. Ph.D. students have the opportunity to acquire expert knowledge in their field and a solid background across many disciplines involved in the interdisciplinary project.

Specific tasks will include:
1. Setting up and running novel microbial electrochemical enrichments
2. Characterization of metal ions and solid metal compounds by chemical and spectroscopic methods
3. Extraction and analysis of nucleic acids from bioreactor samples
4. Investigation and optimization of conversion efficiency and energy demands
5. Bioinformatic and statistical analysis of data
6. Opportunity for scientific qualification in the context of a PhD degree

Your profile:
• A completed MSc or diploma degree in Microbiology, Biochemistry, Electrochemistry, Material Sciences or a comparable program
• Interest in interdisciplinary research
• Interest in developing new methods for microbial fuel cell technology
• Skills in (bio)informatics would be advantageous
• Working in teams, visiting collaboration partners

The goal of the MAPEX is the system-oriented research and development of materials and processes for sustainable transport and energy applications. The centre merges the know-how of more than 1000 scientific and technical staff, 480 of which are doctoral candidates, active in the fields of natural and engineering sciences as well as mathematics and aiming at a thorough understanding of the process-properties-performance relationships in materials.
MarMic is the International Max-Planck-Research School (IMPRS) with a focus on marine microbiology at the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology. Since its foundation in 2005 the Biomimetics-Innovation-Centre at the Hochschule Bremen has been coordinating research activities in the fields of fundamental interdisciplinary research and development.

The University of Bremen follows a diversity strategy. It strives to increase the number of women in the academy and strongly encourages applications from suitably qualified female candidates. International applications and applications of academics with a migration background are explicitly welcome. Disabled persons with the same professional and personal qualifications will be given preference. The employment is fixed-term and governed by the Act of Academic Fixed-Term Contract, §2 I (Wissenschaftszeitvertragsgesetz – WissZeitVG). Therefore, candidates may only be considered for appointment if they still have the respective qualification periods available in accordance with § 2 (1) WissZeitVG.

We look forward to receiving your e-mail application in English including CV, letter of motivation, and reference contacts!

Institution contact information

Information regarding the open PhD position can be obtained by contacting

Sven Kerzenmacher (Bioelectrochemistry; Kerzenmacher@uvt.uni-bremen.de)
Michael Friedrich (Microbiology; Michael.friedrich@uni-bremen.de)
Jan-Henning Dirks (Biomimetics; jan-henning.dirks@hs-bremen.de)

Contact email address

kerzenmacher@uni-bremen.de

Deadline

15-09-2020

External link

https://www.uni-bremen.de/en/uvt/jobs

Electrobioremediation of sediments contaminated by aromatic halogenated compounds and enrichment of dehalogenating microbial cultures

The research activities of this fellowship will be carried out in the frame of the H2020 research project Electra “Electricity driven Low Energy and Chemical input Technology foR Accelerated bioremediation”.

The research project aims at the development of an innovative process for the electrobioremediation of sediments contaminated by polyhalogenated organic pollutants. The process is based on the use of polarized electrodes deployed in the sediment able to promote the establishment of reducing and oxidative redox conditions and to provide the anaerobic and aerobic dechlorinating microorganisms with electron donors and acceptors, either directly or indirectly through water electrolysis. This approach can represent a clean and efficient method to stimulate and control the activity of dechlorinating bacteria in contaminated environments, as it avoids the supplementation of chemicals to the contaminated matrix, and may allow to increase the selectivity and control of the process. In particular, the research activity will aim at the development of a bioelectrochemical process in which the reductive dehalogenation and oxidative degradation processes will be stimulated sequentially within the matrix in order to promote the complete degradation of the pollutant.

Research plan

The research activity will consist in:

  • the set-up of H-type bioelectrochemical cells with contaminated sediment and the conduction of the process under varying operational conditions;
  • the evaluation of the system performances through: (i) the monitoring of target pollutants and their dechlorination/biodegradation products, (ii) the monitoring of the physico-chemical parameters of the matrix, (iii) mass and energy balances, (iv) the monitoring of the composition and dynamics of the microbial community;
  • the enrichment and isolation from the contaminated sediment of dehalogenating microbial communities and their characterization in terms of composition and biodegradative abilities towards different organohalogenated pollutants;
  • the selection of the best operational parameters and the validation of the process at mesocosm scale.

As regards the training aspects, the research fellow will have the opportunity to interact, in a highly interdisciplinary environment, with researchers from different disciplines who will offer the opportunity to expand their scientific and cultural background.

Application details

For more information and the application form, see this website.

2-years Post-doc position in industry

We are offering a 2-years Post-doc position in industry. The project is funded by our start-up company Algaria through research grants. It is in collaboration with the University of Milan (Italy) and other research institutions. The project focuses on electroactive biochar (material developed by us) and on some applications in the field of microbial electrochemical technologies applied to the recycling of nutrients from agri-food chains. In particular, we have a patent for an ‘electroactive artificial soil’, combined with the cultivation of Spirulina, to recover nutrients from agri-food waste. Another application is in hydroponic agriculture (with a partner company). In Algaria, we are developing the application to TRL7 of this patent for the cultivation of spirulina. The project deals also with a TRL8-pilot for the extraction of phycocyanin (food coloring) from Spirulina, at our production plant near Cremona (Italy). We are looking for a highly-skilled research profile, to be responsible for the research project with the University of Milan and at the same time become responsible for the production and R&D of Algaria. A brief overview of the projects and some publications can be found below.

Contact information

Andrea Schievano: schievanoa@gmail.com

Fundamentals of energy storage in electrochemically active biofilms

The Institute of Environmental and Sustainable Chemistry, TU Braunschweig, Germany, is looking for an excellent Phd student to support our interdisciplinary research project “Fundamentals of canode biofilm electro-metabolism”.

Microbial electrogenesis – the electricity production from organic compounds such as those found in wastes or marine sediments – and microbial electrosynthesis – the reduction of CO2 into organic energy storage molecules, are two prime application goals for microbial electrochemical technologies. Recent findings by the team of Dr. Leonard Tender from the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, DC illustrate the possibility of combining electrotrophy and electrogenesis in one, switchable electrode-grown biofilm denoted as canode biofilm (cathode/anode). The canode opens new ways to combine bioelectrochemical energy storage and power generation in a single device.

But what are the mechanisms of the underlying metabolic processes, and how is the electrotrophic and electrogenic metabolism coupled with the extracellular electron transfer that connects cellular processes with the electrode? Single investigation methods, such as voltammetry or spectroscopy alone, will not allow achieve sufficient information depth. Only by combining these methods (so-called hyphenated techniques) to probe real-times changes in molecular signatures of the canode, as it switched for energy storage to power generation modes, can information down to molecular reaction mechanisms be gained. In this research project – which is carried out in collaboration with the group of Dr. Leonard Tender – we take a further step. We combine a set of state of the art hyphenated techniques in order to close this knowledge gap and acquire fundamental understanding on the thermodynamics, mechanisms and kinetics of the energy conversion and metabolism in canode biofilms.

The starting date is October 1, 2020. The employment will be arranged by the administration of the TU Braunschweig (salary TVL E13/50%, including health insurance, 3 years contract).

Applications: should be sent by e-mail to Uwe Schröder (uwe.schroeder@tu-braunschweig.de), and must contain the following documents.

Motivation Letter including contact information for two references
Curriculum Vitae including complete address, phone number, email address, educational background, language skills, and work experience
Copies of diploma and transcript of grades in original language and in English or German translation
Additional documents should be provided on request
All documents should be in PDF format, preferably in a single file. Personal data and documents relating to the application process will be stored electronically. Please note that application costs cannot be refunded.

Institution contact information

Prof. Uwe Schröder, Institute of Environmental and Sustainable Chemistry, TU Braunschweig

Contact email address

uwe.schroeder@tu-braunschweig.de

Deadline

30-08-2020

External link

https://www.tu-braunschweig.de/en/oekochemie/stellenangebote/phd

PhD position in bioelectrochemical enrichment of metals

The University of Bremen is offering (under the condition of job release) at the earliest possible date:

Ph.D. position in bioelectrochemical enrichment of metals
Salary group 13 TV-L (75 %), 36 months

in an interdisciplinary project at the interface of microbiology, electrochemistry and material sciences. The motivation of this PhD project is the search for new technological approaches for the extraterrestrial fabrication of metal alloys under tough environmental constraints, in particular the limitation of utilizing mineral and energy resources available in situ on Mars or Moon. More specifically, the project aims at exploring bio-based possibilities to extract iron species from regolith and enrich them as purified iron compounds. These compounds are then used in steel-making processes based on non-conventional metallurgy. In this sub project, microbial electrochemical technologies such as microbial fuel cells (MFCs) and microbial electrolysis cells (MECs) will be used for enhanced production and selective recovery of metal ion species. Microbial communities developing in MFCs will be characterized using state-of-the-art tools such as high-throughput sequencing, metagenomics and metatranscriptomics.

Within the new research initiative in close collaboration with the Hochschule Bremen (HSB), Ph.D. students are supervised by a team of experienced scientists ranging from electrochemistry, material sciences to microbiology and biomimetics. Additional training and support are offered by international graduate Programmes within the MAPEX Center for Materials and Processes, the MarMic Graduate School and the Biomimetic-Innovation-Centre (HSB). These offers include expert as well as skills and methods courses, coaching, networking opportunities, and the opportunity to compete for internal funds. Ph.D. students have the opportunity to acquire expert knowledge in their field and a solid background across many disciplines involved in the interdisciplinary project.

Specific tasks will include:
1. Setting up and running novel microbial electrochemical enrichments
2. Characterization of metal ions and solid metal compounds by chemical and spectroscopic methods
3. Extraction and analysis of nucleic acids from bioreactor samples
4. Investigation and optimization of conversion efficiency and energy demands
5. Bioinformatic and statistical analysis of data
6. Opportunity for scientific qualification in the context of a PhD degree

Your profile:
• A completed MSc or diploma degree in Microbiology, Biochemistry, Electrochemistry, Material Sciences or a comparable program
• Interest in interdisciplinary research
• Interest in developing new methods for microbial fuel cell technology
• Skills in (bio)informatics would be advantageous
• Working in teams, visiting collaboration partners

The goal of the MAPEX is the system-oriented research and development of materials and processes for sustainable transport and energy applications. The centre merges the know-how of more than 1000 scientific and technical staff, 480 of which are doctoral candidates, active in the fields of natural and engineering sciences as well as mathematics and aiming at a thorough understanding of the process-properties-performance relationships in materials.
MarMic is the International Max-Planck-Research School (IMPRS) with a focus on marine microbiology at the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology. Since its foundation in 2005 the Biomimetics-Innovation-Centre at the Hochschule Bremen has been coordinating research activities in the fields of fundamental interdisciplinary research and development.

The University of Bremen follows a diversity strategy. It strives to increase the number of women in the academy and strongly encourages applications from suitably qualified female candidates. International applications and applications of academics with a migration background are explicitly welcome. Disabled persons with the same professional and personal qualifications will be given preference. The employment is fixed-term and governed by the Act of Academic Fixed-Term Contract, §2 I (Wissenschaftszeitvertragsgesetz – WissZeitVG). Therefore, candidates may only be considered for appointment if they still have the respective qualification periods available in accordance with § 2 (1) WissZeitVG.

Institution contact information

Information regarding the open PhD position can be obtained by contacting Sven Kerzenmacher (Bioelectrochemistry; Kerzenmacher@uvt.uni-bremen.de), Michael Friedrich (Microbiology; Michael.friedrich@uni-bremen.de) and Jan-Henning Dirks (Biomimetics;
jan-henning.dirks@hs-bremen.de)

We look forward to receiving your e-mail application in English including CV, letter of motivation, and reference contacts!

Deadline

14/08/2020

External link

https://www.uni-bremen.de/en/uvt/jobs

PhD position “Design of a Bioelectrochemical Biogas Plant”

The Research Group Environmental Process Engineering at the University of Bremen (Germany) seeks candidates for a PhD position (36 months) in the field of designing a bioelectrochemical biogas plant. Candidates should hold a Master’s degree (or equivalent) in
Chemical & Environmental Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Biotechnology (or related fields)

*Your tasks*
The underlying idea of this project is the integration of a microbial electrolysis cell into the biogas plant. At the MECs anode, organic acids are oxidized to carbon dioxide, releasing electrons. These electrons can in turn be used at the cathode to reduce protons to molecular hydrogen. By the electrochemical oxidation of organic acids at the anode, the acidification of the fermenter can be prevented while at the same time pure hydrogen is obtained, which can be further used e.g. to produce valuable chemicals. Your tasks include the characterization and development suitable electrode and membrane materials to construct the microbial electrolysis cell. Based on these materials, an MEC design suitable for integration into the biogas plant shall be developed, and implemented into a model biogas plant. Finally, the complete system will be extensively characterized and limited processes identified. Special regard shall be given to the prevention of hydrogenotrophic microbial growth at the cathode, which would reduce the hydrogen yield.

*Your profile*
We are looking for highly motivated individuals with excellent scientific record. Successful candidates must be good experimentators and possess strong communication skills. Ideally, the candidates have previous experience in the fields of (bio-)electrochemistry.

*What we offer*
The University of Bremen and its Center for Environmental Research and Sustainable Technology offer an excellent scientific environment for interdisciplinary research. The full-time position (salary level 100% E 13) is affiliated to the Research Group Environmental Process Engineering. Our interdisciplinary research is focused on fundamentals, materials, and processes for sustainable environmental engineering and biotechnology.

Institution contact information

Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil. Sven Kerzenmacher
University of Bremen
Research Group Environmental Process Engineering

http://www.uvt.uni-bremen.de

kerzenmacher@uni-bremen.de

Deadline

01/08/2020

External link

https://www.uni-bremen.de/uvt/stellenangebote/phd-position-design-of-a-bioelectrochemical-biogas-plant