Master Student Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Physics or similar – Developing a degradation protocol of PGM-free cathode catalysts for proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells
DLR is the national aeronautics and space research center of the Federal Republic of Germany. Its extensive research and development work in aeronautics, space, energy, transport and security is integrated into national and international cooperative ventures. Approximately 8000 employees are working at 27 locations in Germany.
The DLR’s Institute of Engineering Thermodynamics is working on efficient technologies for energy conversion and storage that help to save resources as well as accelerate the integration of renewable energies. Within this context, the Department of Electrochemical Energy Technology in Stuttgart Germany, invites applicants from all over the world to work with us.
Proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell is the key technology for the upcoming electric drive system, especially in automotive application. In general, these devices need to use nano-sized Pt electrocatalysts to speed up the reactions on their anode and cathode. But the high loading of Pt used in a single stack is still the main bottleneck to be addressed. The long term scenario is to replace these expensive and scarce Pt materials by Platinum Group Metal (PGM)-free catalyst. In this project, a number of advanced PGM-free catalysts will be tested in a single cell by the means of membrane electrode assembly (MEA). The fundamental focus will be to develop a degradation protocol for platinum free electrode and to identify its influence into the individual MEA components. To support, different physical characterization methods, such as SEM/EDX and XPS, are planned for post-mortem analysis of the aged samples. Applicant will work with a team of scientists and acquire hand-on skills from basic electrochemistry to fuel cell electrode engineering, as well as the versatile testing of PEM fuel cells.