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Master thesis: Simulation of two-phase flow inside of PEM electrolyzer porous electrodes

Advertising institute: IEK-3 - Electrochemical Process Engineering
Reference number: D171/2017, Mechanical engineering, process engineering, simulation

Start of work: As soon as possible

Global concern over climate change and environmental sustainability has pushed more number of countries to focus on generating major portion of power from renewable sources. To successfully harness and utilize the energy, it is essential to develop means of effective storage and transportation of the energy obtained from these sources. Storing hydrogen produced by electrolysis of water using renewable energy sources is considered to be one promising solution. Among the available techniques, polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) water electrolysis has received much attention recently.

In our group we are investigating the electrochemical and the flow processes involved in a PEM electrolyzer. To optimize the performance or to achieve possible cost reductions it is essential to have a clear understanding of these processes in relation to different components of the system. The porous electrodes of the electrolyzer play important role in the terms of electric conductivity and media distribution. Thus, we would like to simulate the two-phase flow that happens inside the porous electrodes.

Task description:
The goal of this master thesis is to simulate two/phase flow inside the porous electrodes. The electrodes are made of sintered titanium powder and they have small pores in the micron scale. To simulate the bubble movement inside such a system the following activities need to be carried out:

  • Generation of 3D domain from CT images of a portion of the porous electrode and meshing the domain using our existing method or improvement upon the same
  • 2-phase flow simulation of bubble movement inside water saturated electrodes using VOF model
  • Finding ways to improve simulation time
  • Additional parameter testing


  • Very good academic records in mechanical engineering, process engineering or simulation science.
  • Knowledge of CFD
  • Work experience with Ansys Fluent/ OpenFoam and two-phase flow is essential
  • High individual motivation
  • Work experience with a cluster is desired

Contact person:

Deepjyoti Borah
Institut für Energie- und Klimaforschung IEK-3
Elektrochemische Verfahrenstechnik
Forschungszentrum Jülich

Telefon: +49 2461 61-6365