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Advertising division: IEK-9 - Fundamental Electrochemistry
Reference number: 2019M-131, Materials Science, Physics, Engineering, Solid State Electrochemistry

Internship, Bachelor or Master thesis: Synthesis, Characterization and Scale-Up of Intermediate Temperature Proton Conducting Electrolytes, Electrodes and Catalysts for Membrane Reactor Applications

The Institute for Energy and Climate Research - Fundamental Electrochemistry (IEK-9) – at Forschungszentrum Jülich is seeking qualified applicants for positions of Internships, Bachelor or Master candidate/s to conduct research in solid-state electrochemistry and heterogeneous electrocatalysis.

Electrochemistry is expected to play an important role in the transition away from fossil-fuel over-reliance and to a renewable energy and hydrogen based economy. However, the need for platform chemicals cannot be ignored, and so we are investigating ways to use excess renewable energy to both produce hydrogen and upgrade greenhouse gases such as CH4 and CO2 into carbon-neutral and -negative higher-value products.

Intermediate temperature hydrogen transport membranes offer the unique capability to accomplish this, but are limited not only by materials but also by the strong covalent bonds of the CO2 and N2 molecules. We are thus leading efforts in solid-state electrochemistry and heterogeneous electrocatalysis to develop novel membranes, catalytic electrodes and plug-flow catalysts for highly-effective large scale devices as part of the Power-to-X, iNEW (Inkubator für Nachhaltige Elektrochemische Wertschöpfung) project in coordination with the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Das Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung - BMBF).

As part of a new branch of our group, as an Intern/BS/MS participant you will focus your activities on developing novel methods to synthesize large active-area ceramic solid state proton conducting electrolytes and their electrochemical/materials characterization. MS participants will also develop suitable catalytically active electrodes and catalysts, characterize their stability and electrochemical properties, and experimentally investigate the electrode reaction kinetics and electro-catalytic performance. Finally, using promising developments, chemical production and conversion rates will be quantified, then catalysts, reaction conditions and process flow design will be optimized for TRL advancement of applications to industrially relevant processes.

We are offering the opportunity to work in a brand new multi-disciplinary environment using state-of-the-art equipment and infrastructure to develop next-generation energy- and chemical-sourcing technology. These are highly-valuable positions that will provide the experience and expertise to gain entry into both academia and industry, and will provide key contacts in both arenas for excellent future career options. All candidates will be considered for relevant positions based on experience and any offers will be presented as temporary contracts pending successful progress towards project goals.

Your Tasks:

  • Consult literature and become knowledgeable in the current state-of-the-art.
  • Preparation of precursor oxides and solid state electrolyte materials (sol-gel, solid state and reactive sintering).
  • Microstructural and electrochemical performance characterization using SEM-EDAX, XRD, XPS, TGA, DIL/CTE, EIS, j-V, MS/GC.
  • Development and investigation of the electrochemical and conversion properties of novel catalytically-active electrodes and catalysts.
  • Test matrix development, execution and data processing.
  • Report activities, findings and results via internal memos, manuscripts and presentations.
  • Scale-up to large active area cells/stacks for advancement from TRL-1 to TRL-3/4.

Your Profile:

  • Undergraduate education with excellent marks in Material Science, Physics, Engineering, Chemistry or another relevant discipline.
  • Knowledge of electrochemistry or solid state electrochemistry.
  • Computer skills.
  • Laboratory experience.
  • Excellent cooperation, communication and team-work abilities.
  • Independent, self-motivated and responsible.
  • Ability to think outside of the box.
  • Willingness to learn.
  • Fluency in English is mandatory.

We offer:

  • International research environment.
  • Well-equipped laboratories in one of the largest research centers in Europe.
  • Mentored autonomy in high-level theory and experimentation.
  • Close proximity to the beautiful cities of Cologne and Aachen.
  • Fun and social working atmosphere.


For more information, please contact:
Hr. Dr. S. Alexander Robinson,

Institute of Energy and Climate Research – Fundamental Electrochemistry (IEK9)
Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH