Precious metal recovery from fuel cell membranes

Get paid to do a Masters with the Centre for Global Eco-Innovation at Lancaster University (The Sunday Times' University of the Year 2018) and Ames Goldsmith (UK) Ltd.

1 Year Enterprise-led Masters by Research, Ref. No. 85

  • Get paid £15,000 tax-free
  • Have you tuition fees reduced. Your partner company pays £2,000 towards your fees, meaning UK/EU students pay £2,260, and International students pay £15,945.
  • Be part of the multi award winning Centre for Global Eco-Innovation with a cohort of 50 talented graduates working on exciting business-led R&D.
  • The Centre is based at Lancaster University, so you will gain your Masters from a Top Ten University, recognised as The Sunday Times University of the Year 2018.
  • Finish in a strong position to enter a competitive job market in the UK and overseas.

The Project

New energy systems and promoting a transition to a circular economy are amongst the greatest challenges of the current generation.

This project offers the opportunity to gain a masters qualification working in collaboration with a leading supplier of precious metals.  Understanding gained through this project will be in high demand as vehicle manufacturers seek to innovate to make fuel cell technology affordable.  The project degree fees are sponsored, and you are paid a stipend whilst undertaking the research.

Fuel cells are becoming increasingly vital sources of power, with predictions for markets to surge in the next 20 years. A fuel cell includes a membrane impregnated with precious metals using Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) technology. Applications include electrolysers, trains, stationary power and fuel cell vehicles.

The aim of this project is to explore methods of recycling fuel cell membranes (MEA) safely in order to separate the reusable precious metal content from other products that may damage the environment. Currently, precious metals can only be recovered through a process of burning and releasing hazardous compounds. Fuel cells and electrolysers are part of the green energy revolution.  This project aims to provide a recycling solution that will recover more useful valuable metals that can feed directly back into the production process.

The successful applicant has the opportunity to explore the leaching and deposition kinetics of some of the components not previously studied, such as iridium. This will likely involve techniques and equipment such as rotating discs, ring disc electrodes and electrochemical quartz crystal microbalance. The team will use this work to design a process / reactor, which allows the validation of the performance.

This project would suit a chemical engineering or chemistry graduate.

Enterprise and collaborative partners

This Masters by Research is a collaborative research project between Lancaster University and Ames Goldsmith (U.K.) Limited. Supervised by Dr Richard Dawson and Dr Fabrice Andrieux of Lancaster University and colleagues from Ames Goldsmith (U.K.) Limited and Ceimig Limited.  Ames Goldsmith is a major supplier of silver based products and refining services to the electronics, medical, photographic, mirror, waste treatment and catalyst industries.

Apply Here

To apply for this opportunity please email with:

This project is part funded by the European Regional development Fund and is subject to confirmation of funding. For further information about the Centre for Global Eco-Innovation, please see our website.

Application deadline

Midnight Tuesday 19th June 2018

Start date: October 2018