PhD Position within Sustainable Repurposing and/or Recycling of Lithium-ion Batteries

Trondheim, Norway
23 Nov 2021
End of advertisement period
07 Jan 2022
Contract Type
Full Time

Research Collaboration in Sustainability

In 2015, the 2030 agenda with the 17 sustainability goals was adopted by all UN member states. The sustainability goals see the environment, economy and social development in context. The time horizon for necessary changes is short, and it is challenging to combine different considerations without conflicts of objectives and unintended consequences of measures.

NTNU is now announcing 43 individual PhD positions that will contribute to a greater understanding of system effects, societal changes and conflicts of interest related to the sustainability challenges. These positions are divided into 9 interdisciplinary projects with mainly 4-7 PhD positions in each project. (

In this position, the candidate is expected to cooperate with the other PhD students in the project HolE-LIB – Developing a Holistic Ecosystem for Sustainable Repurposing and/or Recycling of Lithium-ion Batteries (LIBs) in Norway and EU (

About the position

The earliest start date for the position will be April 2022.

The period of employment is 3 years, or 4 years with 25 % of compulsory work (a decision of 3 or 4 years is made in connection with the recommendation and offer, after assessment of whether compulsory work is suitable for the relevant candidate).

The current position will be on an environmentally sustainable recovery of the metallic and non-metallic components from the utilized Li-ion batteries with an emphasis on recycling critical materials towards circular economy and resource efficiency.

The candidate will be supervised by project leader professor Hanumantha Rao Kota.

Project description

The candidate will work within the HolE-LIB - Developing a Holistic Ecosystem for Sustainable Repurposing and/or Recycling of Lithium-ion Batteries (LIBs) in Norway and EU. (HolE-LIB), funded by NTNU Sustainability Call, 2021. A total of 5 PhDs will be working within the scope of the project across four faculties and six departments at NTNU.

From Norway’s perspective, the battery value chain can be seen as an exceptional sustainable value creation opportunity primarily based on Norway's comparative advantage with a competence-driven materials sector based on renewable power. The sustainability depends in part on the ability to reuse and recycle batteries and the compounds they contain. Research into factors which affect customer acceptance in case of repurposed batteries is so far extremely limited. On the other hand, a robust recycling process needs to be developed that can cater to different battery types, designs, chemistries, etc. for competitive disruption of the battery market. Currently, there exists no techno-economically efficient Li recycling process and further, the graphite from lithium-ion battery (LIB) anodes is not recycled. Development of innovative separation processes are expected to positively impact the circular economy and enable sustainable business model (SBM) innovation.

The current project aims to develop a holistic understanding of the fate of end-of-life batteries by addressing technical, economic, and design perspectives along the battery value chain, complemented by evaluation of SBM scenarios within reuse, repurposing and recycling.

You will report to Head of Department.

Duties of the position

The research work will involve:

  • Characterization of materials using the chemical and analytical infrastructure at the Department of Geoscience and Petroleum (IGP).
  • Physical separation of non-metallic graphite component by froth flotation aided by multi-gravity, magnetic and electrostatic techniques.
  • Leaching of metals mediated by environmentally benign reagents (green surfactants as extractants) and purification by foam flotation.
  • Optimisation of parameters including the choice of green reagent for selective concentration of metals from the leaching solution
  • The candidate is expected to participate actively in the team activities, including mentoring and co-supervision of students. More information about the team can be found here:
  • The candidate is expected to be flexible in regard to short-term or long-term international research stays.
  • Travelling with respect to conferences, meetings, workshops may be expected as part of the position.

Required selection criteria

  • You must have a professionally relevant background in Mineral Engineering 
  • Your education must correspond to a five-year Norwegian degree programme, where 120 credits are obtained at master's level 
  • You must have a strong academic background from your previous studies and an average grade from the master's degree program, or equivalent education, which is equal to B or better compared with NTNU's grading scale. If you do not have letter grades from previous studies, you must have an equally good academic basis. If you have a weaker grade background, you may be assessed if you can document that you are particularly suitable for a PhD education. 
  • You must meet the requirements for admission to the faculty's doctoral program (   

The appointment is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants and Regulations concerning the degrees of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD) and Philosodophiae Doctor (PhD) in artistic research national guidelines for appointment as PhD, post doctor and research assistant  

Preferred selection criteria

  • Strong experimental background within mineral processing unit operations, in particular froth flotation.
  • Experience in chemical, microscopic and macroscopic properties of materials using advanced analytical equipment.
  • Knowledge or experience in surface chemistry and/or surfactant chemistry is an added advantage.
  • Good written and oral English language skills.

Personal characteristics

  • Positive, creative, result oriented and enthusiastic.
  • Seeks new challenges at work.
  • Has keen interest working in interdisciplinary teams.
  • Communicates information and results with clarity and ease, both orally and in writing

We offer

Salary and conditions

PhD candidates are remunerated in code 1017, and are normally remunerated at gross from NOK 491 200 per annum before tax, depending on qualifications and seniority. From the salary, 2% is deducted as a contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.

The period of employment is 3 years, or 4 years with 25 % of compulsory work (a decision of 3 or 4 years is made in connection with the recommendation and offer, after assessment of whether compulsory work is suitable for the relevant candidate).

Appointment to a PhD position requires that you are admitted to the PhD programme in Engineering ( within three months of employment, and that you participate in an organized PhD programme during the employment period.

The engagement is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants, and the acts relating to Control of the Export of Strategic Goods, Services and Technology. Candidates who by assessment of the application and attachment are seen to conflict with the criteria in the latter law will be prohibited from recruitment to NTNU. After the appointment you must assume that there may be changes in the area of work.

The position is subject to external funding.

It is a prerequisite you can be present at and accessible to the institution daily.

About the application

The application and supporting documentation to be used as the basis for the assessment must be in English.

Publications and other scientific work must follow the application. Please note that applications are only evaluated based on the information available on the application deadline. You should ensure that your application shows clearly how your skills and experience meet the criteria which are set out above. 

The application must include:

  • CV, certificates and diplomas 
  • Transcripts and diplomas for bachelor's and master's degrees. If you have not completed the master's degree, you must submit a confirmation that the master's thesis has been submitted. 
  • A copy of the master's thesis. If you recently have submitted your master's thesis, you can attach a draft of the thesis. Documentation of a completed master's degree must be presented before taking up the position. 
  • Project proposal  
  • Research plan 
  • Name and address of three referees 
  • If you have publications or other relevant research work 

If all, or parts, of your education has been taken abroad, we also ask you to attach documentation of the scope and quality of your entire education, both bachelor's and master's education, in addition to other higher education. Description of the documentation required can be found here. If you already have a statement from NOKUT, please attach this as well.

Joint works will be considered. If it is difficult to identify your contribution to joint works, you must attach a brief description of your participation.

In the evaluation of which candidate is best qualified, emphasis will be placed on education, experience and personal and interpersonal qualities. Motivation, ambitions, and potential will also count in the assessment of the candidates. 

NTNU is committed to following evaluation criteria for research quality according to The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment - DORA.

General information

Working at NTNU

A good work environment is characterized by diversity. We encourage qualified candidates to apply, regardless of their gender, functional capacity or cultural background. 

The city of Trondheim is a modern European city with a rich cultural scene. Trondheim is the innovation capital of Norway with a population of 200,000. The Norwegian welfare state, including healthcare, schools, kindergartens and overall equality, is probably the best of its kind in the world. Professional subsidized day-care for children is easily available. Furthermore, Trondheim offers great opportunities for education (including international schools) and possibilities to enjoy nature, culture and family life and has low crime rates and clean air quality.

As an employee at NTNU, you must at all times adhere to the changes that the development in the subject entails and the organizational changes that are adopted.

In accordance with The Public Information Act (Offentleglova), your name, age, position and municipality may be made public even if you have requested not to have your name entered on the list of applicants.

If you have any questions about the position, please contact Professor Hanumantha Rao Kota, Department of Geoscience and Petroleum, telephone +47 957 63 365, e-mail and Associate Professor Sulalit Bandyopadhyay, Department of Chemical Engineering, telephone +47 4507 1041, email

If you have any questions about the recruitment process, please contact Anne-Lise Brekken, Department of Geoscience and Petroleum, e-mail: anne.lise

Please submit your application electronically via with your CV, motivation letter (maximum 2 A4 pages), diplomas and certificates. Applications submitted elsewhere will not be considered. Diploma Supplement is required to attach for European Master Diplomas outside Norway. Chinese applicants are required to provide confirmation of Master Diploma from China Credentials Verification (CHSI).

The position requires spoken and written fluency in the English language. Applicants from non-English-speaking countries outside Europe must document English skills by an approved test. Approved tests are TOEFL, IELTS and Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) or Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE).

If you are invited for interview you must include certified copies of transcripts and reference letters. Please refer to the application number IV-247/21 when applying.

Application deadline: 07.01.2021

NTNU - knowledge for a better world

The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) creates knowledge for a better world and solutions that can change everyday life.

Department of Geoscience and Petroleum

We conduct teaching and research related to management of Earth’s geological resources. Norway’s rich resources of wind, water, oil, gas and minerals have been and are essential to the country’s prosperity, and will continue to be in the future. The Department plays a key role in the development of technology and the education of graduates who enable value creation based on our natural resources. The Department of Geoscience and Petroleum is one of eight departments in the Faculty of Engineering.

Deadline 7th January 2022
Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality Trondheim
Scope Fulltime
Duration Temporary
Place of service Department of Geoscience and Petroleum

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