Thermodynamic modelling of protective coating for solid oxide electrolysis cells

In the pursuit of a sustainable energy future, solid oxide electrolysis cells (SOECs) are a highly promising technology for producing clean hydrogen by electrolysis of water at high temperature (between 500 and 850°C). Although high operating temperature offers many benefits (high efficiency and low power consumption), it can lead to degradation of the interconnectors. Coatings are proposed to improve the long-term performance of interconnectors and reduce corrosion problems. The aim is to find the best coating candidates with high thermodynamic stability, high electrical conductivity and low cation diffusivity. In this context, you will join the LM2T team within the DIADEM Project ( for innovative materials.
Your role will be to:
1)Perform thermodynamic simulations using CALPHAD method and Thermo-Calc Software to predict the stability range of a set of coating candidates (e.g. spinel oxides and perovskites) and the possible decomposition reactions in different atmosphere conditions (temperature and oxygen partial pressure). In this step, the candidate will also perform a critical review of the thermodynamic data available in the literature.
2)To couple information obtained from CALPHAD calculations and the thermodynamic database to estimate the thermal expansion and electrical conductivity of the most promising compositions.
The candidate will work closely with the experimental team (ISAS/LECNA and UMR-IPV) producing the coatings to guide future trials and adapt the method to better meet large-scale production needs.

Simulation of PEMFC flooding phenomena

The proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) is now considered as a relevant solution for carbon-free electrical energy production, for both transport and stationary applications. The management of the fluids inside these cells has a significant impact on their performance and their durability. Flooding phenomena due to the accumulation of liquid water are known to impact the operation of the cells, causing performance drops and also damages that can be irreversible. With the use of thinner channels in ever more compact stacks, these phenomena are becoming more and more frequent. The objective of this post-doc is to progress in the understanding of flooding in PEMFCs. The work will consist in analyzing the link between the operating conditions, the design of the channels and the materials used in the cell. It will be based on a two-phase flow modeling approach at different scales, from the local scale at the channel-rib level, up to, via an upscaling approach, the level of the complete cell. The study will also be based on numerous experimental results obtained at the CEA or in the literature.

HPC simulations for PEM fuel cells

The goal is to improve TRUST-FC software -a joint development between LITEN and DES institutes at CEA- for detailed full 3D simulation of hydrogene PEM fuel cells and to run simulations on whole real bipolar plate geometries. Funded by AIDAS virtual lab (CEA/Forshungs Zentrum Juelich), a fully coupled electro-chemical, fluidic and thermal model has been built, based on CEA software TRUST. The model has been benchmarked against its FZJ counterpart (Open fuelcell, based on OpenFoam). The candidate will adapt the software and toolchain to larger and larger meshes up to billion cells meshes required to model a full bipolar plate. Besides, he will introduce two phase flow models in order to address the current technological challenges (local flooding or dryout). This ambitious project is actively supported by close collaboration with CEA/DES and FZJ.

Production of green hydrogen and ammonia from offshore energy

This subject is dedicated to the high potential of offshore wind power in the high seas, where it seems extremely complicated and expensive to install an electric transmission to a continental grid. In addition, the IMO, a United Nation agency that is responsible for environmental impacts of ships, adopted ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from marine shipping. The IMO plan regulates carbon dioxide (CO2 ) emissions from ships and requires shipping companies to halve their GHG emissions by 2050 (compared to 2008 levels).
Different ways are being explored in order to identify the best low-carbon fuel that will be able to power new marine propulsion systems without GHC emissions (and others polluants like Sox, Nox…).
Hydrogen combined with a fuel cell is a good option for small application (fishing boat…). However, issues associated with hydrogen storage and distribution (low energy density) are currently a barrier for its implementation for large and massive marine application which drivess 80–90% global trade, moving over 10 billion tonnes of containers, solid and liquid bulk cargo across the world’s oceans annually.
Hence, other indirect storage media are currently being considered. Of these, ammonia is a carbon free carrier which offers high energy density. First studies and demonstration projects show that it could be used as a fuel coupled with a new generation of high-temperature fuel cells (SOFC) or internal combustion engines.
This project focuses on the green ammonia production on a high seas platform including an offshore wind farm that use renewable electricity to first generate hydrogen from water (via electrolysis) and nitrogen from air and then combine both in a Haber-Bosch process to synthesize ammonia. The objective is to develop modeling tools (Modelica / Dymola environment) in order to build, simulate and optimize "wind to ammonia" systems and energy management solutions to minimize the production cost of ammonia.