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Advertising division: IEK-3 - Electrochemical Process Engineering
Reference number: 2019M-031, Energy engineering, process engineering, mechanical engineering, industrial engineering

Master thesis: Techno-economic Optimization Potential of Solar to Hydrogen Pathways

In order to achieve the climate change targets of the German Government, power generation from domestic renewable energy sources (RES) must be increased significantly. Moreover, the import of renewable energy from countries with beneficial climatic conditions for harvesting solar or wind energy is discussed, at present. For the long-distance transport and long-term storage of electricity, hydrogen offers a feasible solution. In this context, system components of hydrogen production from renewable energies are being developed and systems analytical work is being carried out at Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin (HZB), Forschungszentrum Jülich (FZJ) and German Aerospace Center (DLR).

Hydrogen production utilizing solar radiation can be accomplished via different technologies. In previous studies, solar power generation by photovoltaic or solar‑thermal power plants and subsequent hydrogen production via high and low temperature electrolysis were considered. However, the direct comparison of these pathways is not fully consistent since these solar harvesting technologies are primarily optimized for electricity generation. The implementation of storage technologies, for example, could further reduce the hydrogen production costs for single technology pathways. The goal of this study is to investigate the greenhouse gas emissions reduction potential of different solar‑to‑hydrogen pathways and to perform a technical and economical assessment comparing these alternatives.

Your task:

  • Literature review of solar hydrogen production and related technologies
  • Incorporating collected data into existing models and databases at FZJ-IEK-3
  • Design of a Python-based model on relevant solar hydrogen pathways focusing on the greenhouse gas emissions reduction potential
  • Detailed analysis and comparison of results for each solar hydrogen pathway investigated

Your profile:

  • Very good academic records in energy engineering, process engineering, mechanical engineering, industrial engineering or similar field
  • Interest in power systems, future energy markets
  • High individual motivation
  • Good programming and analytical skills
  • Experience in GIS and SQL databases desirable

Our offer:
We offer a pleasant working environment in a highly competent, international team within the Helmholtz Association, which is one of the most prestigious research organizations in Europe. The work will be supported by top-end scientific and technical infrastructure as well as close guidance from experts. You will have the opportunity to work with experienced researchers from various scientific fields and be part of designing the future European energy system. The work will be carried out at FZJ in Juelich and jointly supervised by experts from HZB (photovoltaic based concepts), FZJ (model-based systems analysis) and DLR (solar thermal processes). It would, however, be beneficial to conduct a part of the work at HZB in Berlin.

Markus Reuß
Institute of Energy and Climate Research (IEK)
Electrochemical Process Engineering (IEK-3)
Forschungzentrum Jülich (FZJ)
52425 Jülich

Tel. 02461 61-9153