PhD Position Liquid Cooling of Solid Oxide Fuel Cells

PhD Position Liquid Cooling of Solid Oxide Fuel Cells

Published Deadline Location
23 Mar 24 Apr Delft

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Job description

Climate change forces society to replace conventional carbon sources of power with clean power technologies. One such technology are fuel cells, which use chemical energy like hydrogen to produce electricity both efficiently and cleanly. Fuel cells can be used for a wide variety of applications ranging from residential- and industrial applications to transportation.   

In particular, solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) are increasingly considered as a highly efficient, low emission, fuel-flexible alternative to conventional sources. However, low power densities, slow load transients and high capital cost have hindered large scale deployment so far. These difficulties may potentially be overcome by reconsidering the cooling of SOFCs.

In order to use SOFC's in the industrial and transport sectors, they should be able to handle sudden load fluctuations that may result from a process start-up (or shut-down), maneuvering or lifting operations. However, sudden load changes result in large temperature gradients that comprise the stability of the fuel cell components.

To overcome both the high power consumption of the cathode air compressor as well as thermal overloading, liquid cooling may be considered instead of conventional air cooling. This may also help to increase the power density. However, liquid cooling raises additional challenges to the design op SOFC's. In particular, the choice of coolant and the arrangement of liquid cooling channels should be effective yet not compromise the fuel cell components.

As a PhD candidate, you will assess the feasibility of water-cooled SOFCs under variable power loads. Using computational modelling you will highlight differences between air- and water-cooled SOFC systems and use your findings to design novel cooling designs. The results will be used to propose novel cooling designs and to perform techno-economic assessments thereof. You will be assisted by various experts on CFD, fuel cells and thermodynamic analysis from the departments of Process & Energy, as well as the department of Maritime and Transport Technology.  


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


We are looking for a candidate with:

a) Ample experience in CFD who is interested to learn more about the electrochemistry of fuel cells.

--- and/or ---

b) Ample experience in electrochemistry of fuel cells who is interested in CFD- modelling.

Specifically we expect that you have:

1) MSc. degree in either chemical- or mechanical engineering, applied physics or similar.

2) Strong affinity with thermodynamics, heat transfer phenomena and/or electrochemistry.

3) Keen interest in modelling, coding and analysis.

4) Good communication skills and the ability to be a team player in a highly multidisciplinary setting.

5) The ability to set up, organise and execute his/her own research goals and meet targets.

7) Good comprehension of the English language.

Doing a PhD at TU Delft requires English proficiency at a certain level to ensure that the candidate is able to communicate and interact well, participate in English-taught Doctoral Education courses, and write scientific articles and a final thesis. For more details please check the Graduate Schools Admission Requirements.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 4 years.

Doctoral candidates will be offered a 4-year period of employment in principle, but in the form of 2 employment contracts. An initial 1,5 year contract with an official go/no go progress assessment within 15 months. Followed by an additional contract for the remaining 2,5 years assuming everything goes well and performance requirements are met.

Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2541,- per month in the first year to € 3247,- in the fourth year. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment with an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor. The Doctoral Education Programme is aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills.

The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, discounts on health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. For international applicants we offer the Coming to Delft Service and Partner Career Advice to assist you with your relocation.


Delft University of Technology

Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context.

At TU Delft we embrace diversity as one of our core values and we actively engage to be a university where you feel at home and can flourish. We value different perspectives and qualities. We believe this makes our work more innovative, the TU Delft community more vibrant and the world more just. Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale. That is why we invite you to apply. Your application will receive fair consideration.

Challenge. Change. Impact!


Faculty Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering

From chip to ship. From machine to human being. From idea to solution. Driven by a deep-rooted desire to understand our environment and discover its underlying mechanisms, research and education at the 3mE faculty focusses on fundamental understanding, design, production including application and product improvement, materials, processes and (mechanical) systems.

3mE is a dynamic and innovative faculty with high-tech lab facilities and international reach. It’s a large faculty but also versatile, so we can often make unique connections by combining different disciplines. This is reflected in 3mE’s outstanding, state-of-the-art education, which trains students to become responsible and socially engaged engineers and scientists. We translate our knowledge and insights into solutions to societal issues, contributing to a sustainable society and to the development of prosperity and well-being. That is what unites us in pioneering research, inspiring education and (inter)national cooperation.

Click here to go to the website of the Faculty of Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering. Do you want to experience working at our faculty? These videos will introduce you to some of our researchers and their work.


  • PhD
  • Engineering
  • 38—40 hours per week
  • €2541—€3247 per month
  • University graduate
  • TUD03679


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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Mekelweg 2, 2628 CD, Delft

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