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Engineering Internships & Thesis topics



Maastricht, Netherlands
Posted on Monday, October 10, 2022

We are working on a challenging and incredibly exciting vision: Bringing reliable sustainable pure water to a thirsty world!

Desolenator is a rapidly growing startup that is revolutionizing the desalination industry with its patented solar thermal technology. As a company dedicated to
delivering net-zero water at scale, Desolenator’s desalination approach is modular and   containerized,   making   it   ideal   for   deployment   in   remote   locations.   By harnessing both solar-generated electricity and heat, Desolenator aims to provide communities   and   businesses   with   fresh   water   that   is   sustainable   and environmentally friendly.

An internship role provides practical R&D experience in a young and dynamic environment for students following an engineering degree at University level and will be fixed to a period of 3-6 months. You will be based at our lab in Maastricht, to gain first hand working experience in an R&D lab.

Project Title: For 1 intern as a master thesis:
Analysis and Design of an Integrated Electrolyser Waste Heat Recovery System for Advanced Solar Thermal Desalination

this topic could be split into 2 seperate topics for shorter term/ non-thesis internships as follows:
1) Technology Assessment of Hydrogen Electrolyser Market with a Focus on Waste Heat Utilization for Solar Thermal Desalination
2) Design of an Integrated Electrolyser Waste Heat Recovery System for Advanced Solar Thermal Desalination

Project Description: This research project aims to explore the potential gain in energy utilization and water production by coupling a market-available electrolyser system to Desolenator’s solar thermal desalination solution through waste heat integration. The successful completion of this will contribute to the development of more energy-efficient and sustainable water provisioning systems.

Market Research Phase:
During this phase, the goal is to research and analyse available electrolysis technologies currently on the market, considering factors such as type of electrolyser, efficiency, installed capacity and related hydrogen production rate. Specific emphasis of this analysis lies on determining both the quality (e.g., hot water) and quantity of waste heat generated by the electrolyser to identify its compatibility with potential waste heat recovery systems. Once compiled, this analysis   will   form   the foundation   to   identify   and   recommend   the   electrolysis technology   most   compatible   for   integration   in   Desolenator’s   solar   thermal desalination solution.

Task list:
Research and compile a list of market electrolyser systems and the respective companies involved,
Categorise and quantify waste heat generated by various electrolyser technologies,
Determine key variables affecting waste heat production and recovery within the context of electrolyser systems,
Assess the most suitable electrolyser system(s) based on a set of criteria established by Desolenator’s technical constraints and operational goals,
Evaluate potential advantages, challenges, and compatibility aspects,
Documenting the work described above,
Present results and recommendations to Desolenator’s R&D team.

Design Phase:
Following the completion of the market research phase, the project will centre around the technical integration of waste heat between the electrolyser and solar thermal desalination units. The goal is to design, model and analyse a recovery system   that   harnesses   waste   heat   generated   by   a   1   to   10   MW   electrolyser (identified in the market research phase) and allows this heat to be incorporated or utilized   to   enhance   water   production   of   Desolenator’s   system.   Based   on   the company’s performance targets and development strategies, clear constraints will be stipulated and guide the study in specifying and optimizing the conceptual design of the waste heat recovery system.

Task list:
Assess a range of design strategies for waste heat utilization based on the type and amount of waste heat generated, listing process steps and/or technologies (unit operations) applicable for both systems,
Study electrolyser as well as solar thermal desalination processes and their respective energy requirements and functionalities,
Develop a process flow of conceptual design(s) and mathematically model process(es) to obtain mass and energy balance on proposed components using appropriate software tools (Aspen Plus, Python, Matlab/Simulink),
Incorporate into existing company models of solar desalination plant, and perform   sensitivity   analysis   on   various   parameters   to   identify   effect   on overall system efficiency,
Quantify and evaluate any system level improvements observed,
Detail and validate the model approaches/methodologies of the integrated waste heat recovery system,
Provide a comprehensive analysis of simulation results, optimizations, and system level impacts.
Compile all research findings in a final project report, summarising project achievements, contributions, and implications for sustainable desalination and presenting recommendations for future research and/or improvements.

Expected Deliverables:
Market analysis report of electrolysis technologies and their feasibility for integration,
Strategy for waste heat quantification,
Technology feasibility assessment and recommendation report
Comprehensive design and model of the integrated waste heat recovery system for solar thermal desalination,
Efficiency analysis report comparing the integrated system with the baseline, conventional plant,
Simulation results and validation data,
Final project report summarizing all aspects of the research and design process.

What you can achieve

Be a crucial part of bringing reliable and sustainable pure water to people who most need it

Collaborate with an enthusiastic and mission driven team of engineers in an inventive and resourceful start-up environment

Gain experience and expertise in real life modeling.

Your responsibilities

These are very much dependent on the research topic but we expect all our interns to be able to draw up a research plan and outline what support and help they require.

Coordinate with the lab manager in many day-to-day activities.

What we are looking for

Student in the following courses: MS or BS in various Engineering specialties, such as chemical, process engineering, mechanical or electrical engineering

Specific software skills depending on the topic selected and some previous internship experience

A team player who enjoys company and working within a fun and energetic free-thinking team

What you can expect from us:

We are a small team working on an innovation that we believe will bring water to a thirsty world and change the outlook for those most in need. As part of this exciting project, we promise that you will get to:

- Enjoy a mission-driven and enthusiastic work culture with lots of freedom in the way you organize your work.

- Combine state-of-the art engineering with the potential to change the world.

- The opportunity to learn from and interact with our talented team.

- Work in the beautiful, historical and multi-cultural city of Maastricht.