A doctor for HC-H2

Doctoral Degree Defended in Top Form


We would like to say a big congratulations to our project developer Stephan Kiermaier. Soon we will be addressing him as Dr. Kiermaier. Last week, he successfully defended his doctoral thesis in Erlangen. His thesis was dedicated to the topic of heteroatom-containing liquid organic hydrogen carriers (LOHCs) under reduced pressure.

This sounds complicated – and it is.

To put it simply, Stephan investigated the issue of how LOHC technology can be used as a hydrogen storage medium with the lowest possible amount of additional energy. LOHC stands for liquid organic hydrogen carrier. LOHC systems are viewed as a possible solution to storing larger amounts of hydrogen over a longer period of time in future. Heat is required to ensure that hydrogen can be released from the substances after hydrogenation (i.e. storage in LOHC systems) and subsequently converted into electricity in a fuel cell. This heat can then be taken from the fuel cell one process step later. Dehydrogenation heat is typically supplied externally, which leads to a higher energy requirement and, therefore, to a lower efficiency of the energy carrier hydrogen. However, the temperature level of the waste heat from most fuel cell types is usually not sufficient to cause the hydrogen to be released. Stephan conducted research into enabling the release of hydrogen at a lower temperature level, a process known as dehydrogenation. And he was successful in his efforts. Stephan completed his doctoral degree at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU). His doctoral supervisor was Prof. Dr. Peter Wasserscheid, chair of chemical engineering (reaction engineering) at FAU and spokesperson for our Helmholtz hydrogen cluster. “Stephan was on top form in the defence of his doctoral thesis,” according to Wasserscheid. As soon as Stephan has his doctoral certificate in his hands, we will change the sign next to his office door so that it reads “Dr.-Ing. Stephan Kiermaier”. Although he didn’t complete his doctoral degree at Jülich and his colleagues from Erlangen have already honoured him with a mortarboard that they had made themselves, we didn’t want to miss out on this ritual and also made one. Congratulations Stephan! We continue to wish you good luck with the hydrogen projects you are overseeing as part of structural change in the Rhenish mining area.