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PhD position in the field of “Metal-supported Solid Oxide Fuel Cells”

In future energy concepts, metal-supported solid oxide fuel cells (MSCs) are promising candidates for the highly efficient conversion of chemical energy into electrical energy. In comparison to ceramic-supported fuel cells, MSCs offer various attractive potentials, i.e. cost reduction, easier integration in stack designs and improved robustness, which makes them particularly attractive for use in auxiliary power units (APUs), e.g. for power supply in trucks. Since the electrochemical performance of current MSCs is still lower than in the state of the art ceramic-supported fuel cells, and since MSC specific degradation phenomena are still not fully understood, fundamental research on related topics has been intensified recently by establishing a new Christian Doppler Laboratory “Interfaces in Metal-supported Electrochemical Energy Converters”, which will be hosted by the Institute of Energy and Climate Research (IEK-1: Materials Synthesis and Processing) of Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, being part of a strategic research alliance with Vienna University of Technology, and Austrian companies Plansee SE and AVL List GmbH.

The implementation of a metallic substrate for supporting ceramic fuel cell leads to a couple of specific challenges, which must be solved reliably for successful processing and operation of the MSCs. In this context, we offer a PhD position focusing on the development and characterization of the MSC cathode.

Operation of MSCs under APU specific conditions was found to be coupled with increased cell degradation compared to ceramic-supported SOFCs even if the same materials were used for electrodes and electrolyte. A comprehensive literature survey combined with a detailed microstructural and chemical investigation (SEM/EDX/TEM/ICP-OES/others) of state-of-the-art MSCs with mixed ionic/electronic conducting cathode after mid- and long-term operation in single cell and stack tests will be the basis for proposing a qualitative model for describing the MSC specific mechanism of cathode degradation. Here, concentration of volatile Cr-species, operating temperature, current density and water vapor concentration are expected to be the main factors for inducing MSC cathode degradation. It is planned to reproduce the main effects by model experiments with symmetrical electrodes and establishing a suitable Cr source. Later on, Cr tolerance of alternative cathode materials, which will be proposed and developed by the project consortium, are considered in the model experiments. In close cooperation with Vienna University of Technology, impedance spectroscopy on micro-cathodes in the presence of the Cr source are planned to explain Cr related changes at the cathode surface and the triple phase boundaries.

The earliest start of the PhD thesis will be the 01 September 2014.

Forschungszentrum Jülich aims to employ more women in this area and therefore particularly welcomes applications from women. We also welcome applications from disabled persons.

If you are interested in one of the open PhD positions, please send your full application (CV, examinations, qualifications,…) via e-mail to the following address:

PD Dr. Martin Bram
Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH
Institute IEK-1
D-52425 Jülich
e-mail: m.bram@fz-juelich.de

Contact detail

How to apply:
Send application to
PD Dr. Martin Bram
Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH
Institute IEK-1
D-52425 Jülich
e-mail: m.bram@fz-juelich.de

Job profile

Working hours
Contract duration
Type of job
PhD Project
Work experience
job experience is not required
Germany (Nordrhein-Westfalen)
Working place
52425 Jülich
Area of expertise
Material Science & Engineering, Chemical & Process Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Chemistry, Physics