Multiscale Modeling of Electrochemical Energy Conversion and Storage
Multiscale Modeling of Electrochemical Energy Conversion and Storage

Job offers

Excellent and highly motivated young and team player students, as well as PhDs interested on working on these exciting research topics, are encouraged to contact Prof. Franco for possible available positions (internships, PhD thesis, postdoctoral research work, visits) with him.

These positions are devoted to research topics of significant relevance for energy technologies, within  a scientific environment of excellence. Students and PDFs working with him are strongly encouraged to valorize their work with peer-reviewed publications, participations in conferences and patent applications. 

PhD thesis proposal at LRCS under the supervision of Prof. Franco (posted on May 2, 2015)



Challenges facing the humanity today include the climate change, the depletion of fossil resources and the fast increasing energy demand. Within the spectrum of power generators suitable in a sustainable World, electrochemical devices for energy storage are called to play an important role. Although it is a relatively “old” technology, the so-called lithium sulfur battery (LSB) is currently receiving much attention for automotive applications due to its supreme energy density.

However, designing appropriate LSBs for automotive applications is a challenging task facing several technical problems mainly related to their complex operation principles involving multiple electrochemical reaction mechanisms and transport processes occurring in hosting materials with high structural complexity.

Thanks to the development of the modern computational science over the past few decades, multiscale modeling and numerical simulation are emerging as powerful tools for in silico studies of mechanisms and processes in electrochemical cells for energy conversion and storage. These innovative approaches, for which our laboratory has a unique expertise, allow linking the chemical/microstructural properties of materials and components with their macroscopic efficiency. In combination with dedicated experiments, they can tremendously support the progress in designing and optimizing the next-generation cells.


PhD objectives

Within the context of a project supported by the European Commission and starting in June 2015 (“HELIS” project), in which our laboratory is a partner, we are proposing a novel PhD project aiming to develop a new generation of multiscale models of LSBs. The models will be designed in a way to capture the relevant physical chemistry, electrochemistry and transport processes, and will permit, after appropriate experimental validation, support the design of innovative LSBs.


The approach adopted will be supported on a bottom-up non-equilibrium thermodynamics framework with statistical physics which will allow deriving continuum ordinary and partial differential equations describing the relevant physicochemical mechanisms. These equations will be numerically solved in transient conditions at multiple materials and scales by using parameters to be extracted from lower scales simulation methods and/or appropriate experimental characterizations.


Candidate profile

The candidate should have an initial background in physical chemistry/chemical or electrochemical engineering, with demonstrated strong competences on continuum modeling and simulation (e.g. numerical methods such as finite volume, experience in using computational software such as Comsol Multiphysics, Matlab…etc.). The applicant should have an engineer or MSc level and demonstrate excellence in his/her studies. He/she should be a motivated, open-minded, highly dynamic and team-player person.

Publications, participation in international conferences, and even patent applications, will be strongly encouraged. Applicants should have fluent English as the PhD student will actively interact with the other project partners. The PhD student will also benefit from an intellectually highly stimulating environment at LRCS, and from frequent contacts with the laboratories of the ALISTORE European Research Institute on Electrochemical Energy Storage and the French Network on Electrochemical Energy Storage (RS2E), in which LRCS is a main actor.


Application modalities

The PhD thesis will start in October 2015 and the place of work will be our laboratory, LRCS, in Amiens, France.

Please send your CV together with a motivation letter and the contact details of 3 reference persons to:

Prof. Alejandro A. Franco, Laboratoire de Réactivité et Chimie des Solides– Université de Picardie Jules Verne & CNRS UMR 7314 – Amiens, France : 



1. LRCS website:

2. Prof. Franco’s research activities website:

3. A.A. Franco, C. Frayret, Modeling in the design of batteries for large and medium-scale energy storage, book chapter in:  Advances in batteries for large- and medium-scale energy storage, edited by C. Menictas, M. Skyllas-Kazacos, T.M. Lim, Woodhead/Elsevier publishing (2014).

4. A.A. Franco, Multiscale modelling and numerical simulation of rechargeable lithium ion batteries: concepts, methods and challengesRSC Advances3, 13027 (2013).

5. K. H. Xue, E. McTurk, L. Johnson, P.G. Bruce, A.A. Franco, A Comprehensive Model for Non-Aqueous Lithium Air Batteries Involving Different Reaction Mechanisms. Journal of The Electrochemical Society, 162, A614 (2015).

6. S. Strahl, A. Husar, A.A. Franco, Electrode structure effects on the performance of open-cathode Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells: a multiscale modeling approach, International Journal of Hydrogen Energy,  39 (18) 9752 (2014).


PhD thesis proposal at Chalmers University of Technology   - Sweden - in coll. with Prof. Franco (posted on Dec. 26, 2014)

Information about the research and the project
The advent of highly concentrated electrolytes in 2013 showed the need for further understanding of ion transport mechanisms – especially the relation between local and global structure with time and the decoupling of conduction from limits set by viscosity. The scientific target here is to develop simulations taking all relevant phenomena into account at various time and length-scales using a multi-scale modelling approach. The position is co-shared between Prof. Patrik Johansson, Chalmers, and Prof. Alejandro Franco, Amiens, France, and funded by the Swedish Energy Agency.

Major responsibilities
The goal with a PhD-position is to develop general research proficiency and a high competence within your specific research area. As a PhD-student, you will primarily conduct research, often together with other researchers and PhD-students. You will also follow PhD courses, be involved in teaching activities, and participate in international conferences and networks. You are expected to write a licentiate thesis within 2-3 years and defend your doctoral thesis within 4-5 years. The total time period for the position is limited to four years full time, or five years with 20% teaching load.

Position summary
Full-time temporary employment. The employment is composed of a maximum full-time four-year doctoral programme and a maximum one year of department duties, including teaching, equivalent to a maximum of 20 % of the total working time. The employment is thus limited to a total of five years. The employment is tied to successful progress of doctoral studies, evaluated at one and three years.

To qualify as a PhD student, you must have a master's degree, corresponding to at least 240 higher education credits, in a relevant field. The position requires good communication skills in written and spoken English. Applicants who do not have English or a Scandinavian language as their mother tongue need to have passed an English language test, for example TOEFL 550 (paper-based)/TOEFL 213 (computer-based), prior to admission. Chalmers offers Swedish courses.

For further information and how to apply, please visit:

Internship proposal (posted on Jan. 24, 2014)


Internship topic available for download
Internship topic.pdf
Document Adobe Acrobat [62.1 KB]

Topic: Multiscale modeling and numerical simulation of degradation layer growth in dye-sensitized solar cells.


Advisors: Prof. A.A. Franco in collaboration with Dr. Fréderic Sauvage from Laboratoire de Réactivité et de Chimie des Solides (LRCS) and with Prof. Jean-Paul Chehab and Dr. Youcef Mammeri from the Laboratoire Amiénois de Mathématiques Fondamentales et Appliquées (LAMFA) - 33 rue St. Leu, 80039 Amiens Cedex, France.


Context and objectives: Dye-sensitized solar cells is a photovoltaic alternative to silicon developed worldwide as it gathers a set of advantages such as low-cost and easy production, high power conversion performances under shadowed sky and diffuse light, low sensitiveness to temperature fluctuations, can be flexible and bifacial etc… However, the main constrain of this technology for its successful market integration in niche is its lack of stability at temperatures greater than 60°C[1].

Recently, LRCS has pointed out the formation of a chemical degradation layer forming at this temperature and beyond which has a strong outcome for the cell operation while giving answer to long-term numerous speculations raised in the literature. Although such area is dominated by chemists and physicists, a mathematician will be integrated in this research project for which this internship will call for multi-scale modeling and numerical simulation of first the conformal growth of this degradation layer within a randomly distributed monomodal mesoporous electrode. This model will be developed using Matlab environment and within the LRCS computational framework MS LIBER-T [2],[3] to describe the transport of ions and subsequent electrochemical reactions within porous electrode. Sensitivity analysis of the model to different microstructural parameters will be carried out. This model will be used to provide interpretation of experimental data and to guide experimentalists in how to reconsider the existing configuration.


Necessary skills: applied mathematics, numerical methods, physics (equivalent to French Master 1 or Master 2).


For applying, please send your CV, motivations and three recommendation letters to: 

Prof. Alejandro A. Franco

(LRCS, Amiens, France),  

[1] M. Flasque, A. Nguyen Van Nhien, J. Swiatowska, A. Seyeux, C. Davoisne, F. Sauvage, ChemPhysChem (2014) in press,

[2] A.A. FrancoRSC Advances, 3 (32) (2013) 13027.


Alejandro A. Franco,

Full Professor & 

Junior Member of the 

Institut Universitaire de France



Phone number:

+33 3 22 82 53 36


Institut Universitaire de France




Laboratoire de Réactivité et Chimie des Solides (LRCS)

Université de Picardie Jules Verne - CNRS / UMR 7314

33, rue St. Leu

Amiens, France





Réseau sur le Stockage Electrochimique de l'Energie (RS2E)

FR CNRS 3459





ALISTORE-ERI, European Research Institute

FR CNRS 3104



Version imprimable Version imprimable | Plan du site
© Prof. Dr. Alejandro A. Franco