Internship | Influence of ionomer content on electrode activity and durability in novel PEM electrolysers



Education type

university (wo)


Internship and graduation project

Hours a week

Fulltime – 40


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What will you be doing?

The electrification of the chemical industry will play an important role in the transition towards a renewable energy-based economy. Power-to-Gas (PtG) systems offer the possibility of storing excess renewable electricity in the form of molecular bonds for later use. Within this scope, large scale PEM electrolysers can be employed for the efficient conversion of electricity into hydrogen gas, which in turn can be used as feed stock in chemical processes or as power supply in combination with a fuel cell. However, for the widely adaptation of PEM electrolysis, efforts should be addressed to decrease the cost of the cell stack components and increase the lifetime of operation.
Due to the extreme operating conditions in acidic media, noble metal catalysts such as Pt and Ir are employed at the electrodes to carry out the water splitting reaction efficiently. The scarcity and high price of such noble metal catalysts represent an important obstacle for the large-scale manufacturing of PEM electrolysers, hence the need for applied R&D in durable and efficient catalysts.
In this project, novel PEM electrolyser catalysts with lower noble metal contents will be investigated. In order to enhance the proton transport and improve the catalyst stability new electrode compositions with different ionomer content will be explored employing electrochemical methods. In a laboratory scale electrochemical cell, you will test different nanostructured catalysts developed by TNO. You will optimize the electrode composition to obtain the highest activity and lowest degradation rate. You will also learn analytical techniques such as electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS), inductively coupled plasma spectroscopy (ICP) and mass spectrometry (MS).

What do we require of you?

You are an enthusiastic master student looking for an internship of 6-9 months. You have a chemistry or material science background and you are eager to learn about electrochemistry and electrocatalysis. You are pro-active and independent with good communication skills in English.
Among others, your main tasks will be:
  • Literature research to benchmark the know-how present as state-of-art.
  • Perform electrode fabrication experiments by screen printing.
  • Electrochemical cell preparation, characterization and analysis.
  • Participate in group meetings, provide feed-back, discuss results, and propose solutions.

What can you expect of your work situation?

TNO is an independent research organization whose expertise and research make an important contribution to the competitiveness of companies and organizations, to the economy and to the quality of society as a whole. Innovation with purpose is what TNO stands for. With 3000 people we develop knowledge not for its own sake but for practical application. To create new products that make life more pleasant and valuable and help companies innovate. To find creative answers to the questions posed by society. We work for a variety of customers: governments, the SME sector, large companies, service providers and non-governmental organizations. Working together on new knowledge, better products and clear recommendations for policy and processes. In everything we do, impact is the key. Our product and process innovations and recommendations are only worth something if our customers can use them to boost their competitiveness.

What can TNO offer you?

You want to work on the precursor of your career; a work placement gives you an opportunity to take a good look at your prospective future employer. TNO goes a step further. It’s not just looking that interests us; you and your knowledge are essential to our innovation. That’s why we attach a great deal of value to your personal and professional development. You will, of course, be properly supervised during your work placement and be given the scope for you to get the best out of yourself. Naturally, we provide suitable work placement compensation.

Has this vacancy sparked your interest?

Then please feel free to apply on this vacancy! For further questions don’t hesitate to contact us.

Contact: Ivan Garcia Torregrosa
Phone number: +31 (0)6-152 94999

Note that applications via email and third party applications are not taken into consideration.


Apply now



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