PhD Position Fuel Cell State of Health Assessment for Zero-Emission Ships

PhD Position Fuel Cell State of Health Assessment for Zero-Emission Ships

Published Deadline Location
23 Dec 31 Jan Delft

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Do you want to contribute to zero-emission shipping by investigating methods to determine and predict fuel cell state of health and remaining useful life?

Job description

To remain competitive and meet global goals for greenhouse gas reduction in response to the grand societal challenge of climate change, the maritime sector needs to develop zero-emission solutions. Electrochemical energy systems, consisting of fuel cells and batteries, are considered promising and the most viable solutions with no tank-to-wake greenhouse gas emissions.

Fuel cells are a key component for maritime electrification. While fuel cells enable zero emissions and high fuel to electricity conversion efficiencies, they are still a relatively expensive technology. In addition, they are highly non-linear, complex, multi-physical systems whose performance degrades with utility. Thus, there is an urgent need to accurately determine the performance parameters of these systems to extend lifetime reliably and perform fault diagnosis and mitigation. In this regards, the remaining useful life and state of health are useful to represent degradation and ageing.

This PhD position aims to make reliable estimations of system parameters to model fuel cell systems accurately to extend their lifetime within a laboratory framework.

Prognosis of electrochemical systems and extending the utility and lifetime operability is an important theme to manage. Various electrochemical characterisation methods can be employed to identify specific degradation mechanisms and identify degradation both related to time (calendar ageing) and load cycles (cyclic ageing). Lifecycle modelling and testing of these systems, along with accurate monitoring, can enable a better understanding of fuel cell parameters (e.g., internal resistance, electrochemically active surface area, etc.) and their variation with environmental conditions (e.g., temperature, pressure, humidity, etc.) that mimic real maritime conditions within the laboratory.

The research will be carried out in close cooperation with national academic and industrial partners working on the NWO-funded project SEANERGETIC. The industrial partners will provide excess to use cases and recordered data of state-of-the art zero-emission ships and the zero-emission laboratory of MARIN can be used for validation of the control strategies with real components. You will work at the Delft University of Technology, Department of Maritime & Transport Technology, under the supervision and guidance of experts on fuel cells, optimisation and control, and marine engineering, Dr. Lindert van Biert and Dr. Andrea Coraddu.


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


Suitable candidates would have the following qualifications:


  • MSc in electrochemistry, marine engineering, mechanical engineering, systems engineering, or another relevant engineering discipline;
  • Communicative skills and motivation to work together with both (international) academic and industrial partners;
  • Experience in programming e.g., MATLAB, Python, C++, R;
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills in English;
  • Ability to work in a project team and take responsibility for own research goals;
  • Inventive and independent attitude.


  • Experience with modellingof fuel cells or other electrochemical devices;
  • Experience with electrochemical characterisation, such as electrochemical impedance spectroscopy or cyclic voltammetry;
  • A strong drive to work on zero-emission and circular shipping in the marine sector.

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

The Faculty of 3mE carries out pioneering research, leading to new fundamental insights and challenging applications in the field of mechanical engineering. From large-scale energy storage, medical instruments, control technology and robotics to smart materials, nanoscale structures and autonomous ships. The foundations and results of this research are reflected in outstanding, contemporary education, inspiring students and PhD candidates to become socially engaged and responsible engineers and scientists. The faculty of 3mE is a dynamic and innovative faculty with an international scope and high-tech lab facilities. Research and education focus on the design, manufacture, application and modification of products, materials, processes and mechanical devices, contributing to the development and growth of a sustainable society, as well as prosperity and welfare.

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
  • 36—40 hours per week
  • €2541—€3247 per month
  • University graduate
  • TUD03290


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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