“It fascinates me that you can make your own material with new properties."
After my graduation in Advanced Technology, I decided to follow the Master's in Chemical Science & Engineering. During my minor, I took electives that prepared me for this programme and my bachelor's assignment also had a focus on chemistry.
I chose the specialisation in Materials Science & Engineering because I am interested in materials science, specifically in nonorganic materials and their implementation for a sustainable future. You can modify materials on a small scale, and by fine-tuning these changes, you will create the material you need. These modified materials are needed, for example, to make energy conversion more efficient through solar energy or the production of hydrogen.
Converting water into oxygen and hydrogen
Sustainable energy has become more important. Windmills and solar panels generate sustainable energy, but it cannot be stored efficiently. The production of chemical fuels like hydrogen with electrolysis might be the solution. My job was to focus on the anode, converting water into oxygen. Using a catalyst, the reaction will be more efficient. In improving the electrocatalytic activity of the oxygen evolution reaction (OER), a big step can be made towards sustainable energy. Energy generated from sustainable sources such as windmills and solar panels can be transformed into oxygen and hydrogen with the OER. Hydrogen can be used as a new energy source.
The goal was to make three samples of catalysts with different material combinations which have a smooth surface. Surface areas can differ, and the greater the surface area, the more water can be converted into oxygen. During my master’s assignment, I will continue researching these samples. On the surface of the catalyst, reactions can occur that cause degradation, the breakdown of molecules in a chemical reaction. To prevent this, I will research whether this is due to the choice of material. I am looking forward to working on this project.
I am doing an internship at Foseco R&D centre and foundry, which is part of the Vesuvius Group. Foseco produces single-use products to improve castings and Vesuvius works with steel mills.
I work at the R&D centre, which has laboratories and a foundry, where samples can be tested. I spend most of my time in the lab, developing filters. The filter I have designed has a ceramic coating to withstand hot molten metal. The metal passes through a filter to prevent impurities in the metal from ending up in solidified products. I have made several filter designs that have all passed the test round.
Working in a laboratory has always attracted me and that is why I feel at home in this company where there is room for input and your ideas. After graduation, I would like to find a job at a company where I can work in different R&D departments on innovations for sustainable energy.