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2 open PhD position in the EU Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions, MSCA-ETN Project DEMETER (European Training Network for the Design and Recycling of Rare-Earth Permanent Magnet Motors and Generators in Hybrid and Full Electric Vehicles, Project 674973)

Applications are invited for the remaining PhD positions (“Early Stage Researchers”) to be funded by the Marie-Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network “DEMETER – European Training Network for the Design and Recycling of Rare-Earth Permanent Magnet Motors and Generators in Hybrid and Full Electric Vehicles” within the Horizon 2020 Programme of the European Commission. DEMETER is a consortium of high profile universities, research institutions and companies located in Belgium, UK, Denmark, France and Slovenia.

Apply for these ESR positions through bilateral contact with the involved Supervisors:

ESR 2: Extraction of NdFeB magnets from EoL (H)EVs/Advanced ICEVs and conversion into master alloys
Objectives: To use the hydrogen decrepitation process previously developed for electronic scrap to extract NdFeB magnets from automotive waste. The extracted demagnetised powder should contain less than 500 ppm of all impurities other than oxygen. The extracted powders are converted into master alloys using both induction and plasma melting techniques. The oxygen content of the newly formed master alloys should be below 500 ppm with a yield of NdFeB in excess of 80% by mass.
Host: University of Birmingham (UK)
Supervisor: Dr. Allan Walton (UOB: A.Walton@bham.ac.uk)
Duration*: 36 months

ESR 13: Nanoscale characterisation and in-situ dynamic electrochemical TEM studies of recycled magnets

Objectives: To perform detailed structural and chemical analysis of grain boundaries, triple pockets and phase boundaries in SmCo and NdFeB system by different advanced TEM techniques (HRTEM, HAADF-STEM, EDXS, EELS); To determine structural and compositional models of defect and ideal NdFe12Nx phase; To perform in-situ, dynamic electrochemical studies in SmCo and NdFe12Nx system by using electrochemical cell in TEM.

Host: Jozef Stefan Institute (Slovenia)
Supervisor: Prof. Saso Sturm (Jozef Stefan Institute: Saso.Sturm@ijs.si)
Duration*: 36 months

[* Note: Indicated duration is the direct funding period provided by the EC. However, additional funding for the remaining period to complete the PhD will be provided by the Host Institutes.]

Career Stage: Early Stage Researcher (ESR) or 0-4 yrs (Post Graduate)
Benefits and salary: The MSCA programme offers a highly competitive and attractive salary and working conditions. Benefits include mobility allowance, career development allowance and a travel allowance. The successful candidates will receive a salary in accordance with the MSCA regulations for early stage researchers. Exact salary will be confirmed upon appointment [Living Allowance = 37.320 euro/year (correction factor to be applied per country) + Monthly mobility allowance = 600 to 1100 euro depending on the family situation]. In addition to their individual scientific projects, all fellows will benefit from further continuing education, which includes internships and secondments, a variety of training modules as well as transferable skills courses and active participation in workshops and conferences.

Applicants need to fully respect three eligibility criteria:
Early-stage researchers (ESR) are those who are, at the time of recruitment by the host, in the first four years (full-time equivalent) of their research careers. This is measured from the date when they obtained the degree which formally entitles them to embark on a doctorate, either in the country in which the degree was obtained or in the country in which the research training is provided, irrespective of whether or not a doctorate was envisaged.
Conditions of international mobility of researchers: Researchers are required to undertake trans-national mobility (i.e. move from one country to another) when taking up the appointment. At the time of selection by the host organisation, researchers must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of their host organisation for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to their recruitment. Short stays, such as holidays, are not taken into account.
English language: Network fellows (ESRs) must demonstrate that their ability to understand and express themselves in both written and spoken English is sufficiently high for them to derive the full benefit from the network training. See for instance: http://www.helsinki.fi/facultyofscience/postgraduate/postapplicant.html).

Public Abstract DEMETER: Hybrid and Full Electric Vehicles ((H)EVs) are essential for the transition towards sustainable e-mobility. The permanent magnets in motors/generators of (H)EVs are either NdFeB or SmCo magnets, which contain large quantities of rare earths, which are critical metals with the highest supply risk for Europe. As highlighted by the European Rare Earths Competency Network, recycling of rare-earth magnets from (H)EVs should receive top priority. Reclaiming of rare-earth magnet motors/generators used in (H)EVs is a major challenge because the magnets are difficult to remove from the assemblies. The conventional hydrometallurgical routes for the recovery of rare earths from End-of-Life permanent magnets have a high environmental impact due to inefficient use of chemicals, whereas the conventional pyrometallurgical routes for the production of magnet master alloys are energy-inefficient. DEMETER, the European Training Network for the Design and Recycling of Rare-Earth Permanent Magnet Motors and Generators in Hybrid and Full Electric Vehicles, concurrently develops (1) innovative, environmentally-friendly direct and indirect recycling strategies for the permanent magnets in the motors and generators of (H)EVs that are currently already on the market and (2) Design-for-Reuse solutions for motors and generators in the (H)EVs of the future. An intersectoral and interdisciplinary consortium of leading EU universities, research institutes and manufacturers from the automotive and magnet sector trains 15 Early Stage Researchers (ESRs). The research challenges include the development of hydrogen-based grain-refinement technologies to produce nanograin magnets directly from scrap magnets, the recovery of rare earths from SmCo and NdFeB magnets of motors/generators by ionometallurgical methods, and the design of motors/generators with reusable magnets, where the designs are based on 2D and 3D flux paths as well as non-traditional materials.

Beneficiaries: KU Leuven, Jozef Stefan Institute, University of Birmingham, Aalborg University, Grenoble INP, Magneti Ljubljana, Valeo Electrical Systems
Partner Organisations: Less Common Metals, Granta Design, ENSICAEN, CRF (Centro Ricerche FIAT)

General contact persons at KU Leuven:
Prof. Koen Binnemans
Department of Chemistry, KU Leuven
Celestijnenlaan 200f – bus 2404, B-3001 Leuven
tel. +32 16 32 74 46
e-mail: koen.binnemans@chem.kuleuven.be
Website: http://kuleuven.rare3.eu/

Dr. Ir. Peter Tom Jones
Department of Metallurgy and Materials Engineering (MTM), KU Leuven
Kasteelpark Arenberg 44 – bus 02450, B-3001 Leuven
e-mail: peter.jones@mtm.kuleuven.be
Website: http://kuleuven.rare3.eu/