Project Title: Investigation of manufacturing process related structure and performance of fuel cell electrode thanks to Neutron and X-Ray small angle scattering and imaging
Zero emission vehicles using hydrogen as a fuel and powered by a proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell are now commercially available. However, their large-scale commercialization requires progress in performance, cost and durability, for which the electrode is the most limiting component. The later one is composed of random assembly of platinum based nanoparticles within a proton conducting polymer network. It is usually obtained from a slurry after solvent evaporation. Currently, research and development to improve the performance of the electrode and reduce the cost of manufacturing rely on a simple trial and error approach. The goal of this project is to obtain a deep knowledge on the relationships between ink composition, electrode structure, and electrode properties and performance.
The structural evolution of the ink during the drying process and the so-obtained electrode will be characterized using neutron and X-Ray scattering, as complementary tools to unravel the organization of the catalyst material and of the polymer. By correlating these results with Operando electrochemical, structural and imaging measurements, we aim at rationalizing the design of highly performing electrodes. This project involves partners having all the complementary skills necessary for this study. Furthermore the industrial partner is a leader in the research, development and production of fuel cell cars.
Further information may be obtained from Lionel Porcar (firstname.lastname@example.org, tel +33 476 207 025) and from Arnaud Morin (email@example.com, +33 438 785 986).
More details about the application procedure on www.innovaxn.eu/for-students/documents/
The successful candidate will be enrolled in the doctoral school of University Grenoble Alpes (France) and based full-time at the ILL (Grenoble, France), other than a 4-month secondment at (Toyota Motors Europe, Belgium). Additional visits will be made to the CEA-LITEN (Grenoble, France) when needed. Furthermore, varied pedagogical training programs will be offered to the successful candidate throughout the 3-year PhD project.
More details on the InnovaXN programme on www.innovaxn.eu
InnovaXN is a Horizon 2020 MSCA COFUND programme providing an opportunity for 40 industrial companies to work with 40 PhD students, performing advanced research and exploiting the unique characterisation techniques of the ESRF and ILL. Through collaborations with industry, innovation will be the central theme of the programme. This will provide a unique cross academic-industry science setting, secondment opportunities and society-relevant research, training the future key researchers able to tackle major research and societal challenges.