Course paper / final thesis

Investigation of Perovskite Electrodes for Solid Oxide Electrolysis Cells (SOEC) for High Temperature H2O and CO2 Co-Electrolysis

Starting date

3 February 2020

Duration of contract

6-9 months

Type of employment

Full-time (part-time possible)

"Cutting-edge research requires excellent minds – particularly more females – at all levels. Launch your mission with us and send in your application now!" Prof. Pascale Ehrenfreund - Chair of the DLR Executive Board

The efficient use of CO2 and its conversion into CO is suitable for the de-fossilization of human industrial activities. With the simultaneous electrolysis of H2O and CO2 at high temperature (above 800°C) Solid Oxide Electrolysis (SOE) enables direct production of syngas (H2 + CO), which could be processed downstream into high-value synthetic fuels and chemicals.

State of the art SOE cells (SOEC) implement a nickel based cermet as electrocatalyst for the reduction reaction, which still face challenges in terms of durability, sustainability and are prone to fatal Carbon deposition under marginal operating conditions. In this respect a great challenge is the formulation and the implementation of novel electrocatalysts with enhanced performance.

We are currently working on the development of an alternative electrocatalyst for the SOEC fuel electrode based on the lanthanum strontium chromite perovskites family. The Chromium of the matrix is partially substituted with nickel, which exsolves at the surface of the perovskite in the form of nano-particles when exposed to reducing environment. Early results have shown promising performance in co-electrolysis operation. 

In the context of this master thesis, your role will be to manufacture and investigate the electrodes in order to find optimal composition and microstructural features that yield the best compromise performance / durability. With this respect, different composite compositions will be processed and investigated in co-electrolysis operation with the main following tasks:

  • synthesis of ceramic ink with different compositions
  • cell Manufacturing: Screen printing and sintering processes
  • electrochemical characterization of the produced cells
  • post-mortem analysis: Microscopy techniques
  • documentation and evaluation of the results

Your qualifications:

  • university degree in Materials Science, Process Engineering, Chemistry, Physics or similar
  • knowledge on electrochemistry, fuel cells and/or ceramic materials is very welcome
  • joy of experimental work, high level of curiosity, motivation and independent work
  • good knowledge of spoken and written English

Your benefits:

Look forward to a fulfilling job with an employer who appreciates your commitment and supports your personal and professional development. Our unique infrastructure offers you a working environment in which you have unparalled scope to develop your creative ideas and accomplish your professional objectives. Our human resources policy places great value on a healthy family and work-life-balance as well as equal opportunities for persons of all genders (m/f/non-binary). Individuals with disabilities will be given preferential consideration in the event their qualifications are equivalent to those of other candidates.

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Technical contact

Matthias Riegraf
Institute of Engineering Thermodynamics

Phone: +49 711 6862-8027

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Diana María Amaya Dueñas
Institute of Engineering Thermodynamics

Phone: +49 711 6862-8291

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Vacancy 45177

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