PhD position - Development of fuel electrodes for solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC)

Jülich Research Centre (FZJ)

Jülich, Germany

Work group:

IEK-1 – Werkstoffsynthese und Herstellungsverfahren



Area of research:

PHD Thesis



Job description:

The Institute of Energy and Climate Research – Materials Synthesis and Processing (IEK-1) offers a dynamic and international work environment. We develop materials and components for highly efficient future energy conversion and storage systems (in particular, oxide ceramic fuel cells, solid-state batteries, thermal barrier coatings for gas turbines and gas separation membranes). The main focus is put on inorganic materials which are processed as functional layers via gas phase or powder deposition. Our core competences allow for a rapid transfer of scientific results for industrial implementation. The coupling of a biomass gasifier with a solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) to produce electricity from biomass is being studied within the framework of a joint project of Forschungszentrum Jülich and TU München, funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG). The objective of this dissertation is the development of new material combination for the fuel electrode with an improved tolerance against contaminants in the fuel gas. The material systems under investigation include cermets based on Nickel and Gadolinium-doped ceria (GDC) as well as innovative ceramic materials that exsolve nano-scaled catalyst particles during operation.


Your Job:



  • Fabrication of new fuel electrodes via screen printing and optimization of electrode composition and microstructure

  • Synthesis and characterization of powders, production of pastes and processing of these into layer systems

  • Optimization of the fuel electrodes and their integration into full cells, with emphasis on reproducibility and quality control

  • Conduction of extensive materialographic, chemical and structural investigations of the tested cells to characterize the interaction of fuel contaminants with the fuel electrode materials

The tests concerning the chemical and electrochemical interactions of the new electrode materials with fuel gas contaminants will be performed at the Lehrstuhl für Energiesysteme (LES) at TU München.

Your Profile:

  • Master’s degree in the field of Engineering, Materials Science, Chemistry or Physics
  • Solid background in the area of inorganic, non-metallic materials
  • Practical skills and interest hands-on tasks in a laboratory
  • Basic knowledge of ceramic powder processing or electrochemistry are strong assets, but not mandatory
  • High level of initiative and ability to work independently
  • Interest and ability to work in a team as well as good communications skills
  • Fluent in English and a strong command of German language (at least B2)

Our Offer:

  • Outstanding scientific and technical infrastructure – ideal conditions for successfully completing a doctoral degree
  • A diverse and challenging topic in an interdisciplinary and international team
  • The chance to obtain industry-relevant knowledge about the synthesis and characterization, as well as manufacturing and processing of ceramic materials
  • Participation in project meetings and presentation of your results on national and international scientific conferences
  • Further development of your personal strengths, e.g. via a comprehensive further training programme
  • Participation in the graduate school HITEC
  • Your dissertation will be located at the excellene university RWTH Aachen
  • You are a part of a dynamic collaboration with the Lehrstuhl für Energiesysteme (LES) at TU München
  • Usually a contract for the duration of 3 years
  • Pay in line with 50 % of pay group 13 of the Collective Agreement for the Public Service (TVöD-Bund) pay higher than the basic pay may be possible

Forschungszentrum Jülich aims to employ more women in this area and therefore particularly welcomes applications from women.We also welcome applications from disabled persons.


Please apply via recruiter’s website.

Quote Reference: 2019D-223

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