Leuven | More than two weeks ago
Hydrogen is one of potential green candidate for our future energy needs. It can be produced using renewable energies such as solar and wind. It is clean upon burning, and it is also of high energy density. Fuel cells are a type of devices using which hydrogen can be burnt as a fuel. However, there ought to be some efforts before starting to see fuel cells operating at every corner in the world. Today’s fuel cells are not as efficient and affordable as they are meant to be, and this is why they are not massively used. Most of the time, expensive catalysts are used, such as Platinum, which is being tried to be replaced with cheaper materials.
Our team at imec, energy storage and conversion trying to integrate a novel architecture of catalysts, called nanomesh, in the fuel cell applications. The nanomesh electrode can be fabricated out of non-Platinum group metals (PGM) such as may be engineered architecturally to acquire the optimum performance upon using as an electrode for the fuel cells. For instance, the nanomesh electrode can be coated and/or decorated with nanoparticles of other materials seeking an enhancement in the catalytic behaviour. The aim of this thesis is to fundamentally study how the nanoparticles morphological characteristics might affect their catalytic behaviour for hydrogen oxidation reaction (HOR) and oxygen reduction reaction (ORR). The two reactions respectively occur at anode and cathode sides of the hydrogen fuel cells. During the project, the student will learn about electrochemistry and its use for energy applications. Different characterisation techniques such as SEM, AFM, XRD, and electrochemical methods will also be employed.
Type of project: Thesis
Duration: 9 months
Required degree: Master of Science
Required background: Bioscience Engineering
Only for self-supporting students.