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Development of supported thin film membranes for hydrogen separation

Announcing Institution: Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, IEK-1 – Materials Synthesis and Processing and University of Twente – Electrochemistry Research Group

Starting date: anytime, Duration: 7 Months

Field of activity: The energy supply in Europe has changed in the past few decades from conventional technologies (fossil, nuclear) to more renewables (solar, wind) and the process is still going on. This leads to a high fluctuation of the energy supply and to times of over- and undercapacity. To ensure a sustainable and environmental friendly energy supply for the future, carbon capture technologies are necessary to reduce CO2 emissions, and energy storage is needed to cover periods of low energy generation by renewables. The development of new batteries or the production of synthetic fuels is urgently required for energy storage.

Oxide ceramic membranes for the separation of oxygen or hydrogen from gas mixtures are of great interest for different applications due to their high efficiency and practically infinite selectivity. Supported membrane structures are envisaged for applications in oxygen and hydrogen generation for the corresponding gas supply, for example in power plants, glass, cement or steel production, as well as for chemical or petrochemical applications and for green energy generation (H2). In addition, ion-conducting ceramic membrane reactors make it possible to combine membrane separation processes directly with chemical reactions, leading to process intensification and, hence, benefits with regard to efficiency. Current research activities focus on membrane reactors due to their high intrinsic efficiency and great potential for the production of a large variety of commodity chemicals, energy carriers, and synthetic fuels.

Description of work: The proposed master thesis targets the development of BaZr0.8Y0.15Mn0.05O3-δ gastight membranes with several micrometers thickness on a porous support. In addition the microstructure must be optimized and fully characterized regarding performance and sintering behavior. Aim is to increase the hydrogen permeation of the membrane by modifying structure and surface area. The manufacturing of the membranes will be done by sequential tape casting or another reasonable method. Tailoring of the microstructure of the support will be done by modifying the amount of pore former in support and the adjustment of sintering behavior. Sufficient porosity and tortuosity are needed to avoid polarization effects. An enhanced surface area on both sides of the membrane increases the hydration effect. Before starting the experimental work a literature study has to be done to check the state of the art. A detailed work plan will be provided after first discussion with the candidate.

Knowledge in materials science ideally ceramics; ability of hands-on lab work; good English skills

Contact person – Forschungszentrum Jülich
Prof. Dr. Wilhelm A. Meulenberg
Phone: +49 2461 61-6323

Contact person – University of Twente
Prof. Dr. Henny Bouwmeester
Tel:+31 53 489 2202

The main work will be carried out at Forschungszentrum Jülich in Germany. Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH will cover some living costs for the stay in Jülich.