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Internship Field: Power Engineering, Solar Energy

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Host: Fraunhofer-Insitut für Solare Energiesysteme (ISE)

Location: Freiburg i. Br.

Duration: 3 months in summer of 2013


Description: "My project was to help design part of the experimental set up for an experiment which would determine the effects of pollution on fuel cell performance. In particular, I had to figure out how to place all 30 fuel cells, so that there would be no possibility of gas leaks, no contamination of the gasses, how it would be channeled into the condensation tanks, how the fuel cells were to be cooled uniformly but with maximum control. Most of the work was done on AutoDesk Inventor (similar to SolidWorks), although there were some theoretical thought processes in terms of the chemistry and the minimum required force of each compression screw.

A particularly large part of my time was spent trying to figure out how to cool the fuel cells. We had multiple methods, including water submersion, running water through the back of each fuel cell, cooling by fans and heatsinks, or by Peltier Elements. Each one required their own calculations to know what would be the minimum necessary."

Comments: "I believe it was helpful in getting to integrate what I learned in class to a practical sense, and taught me about new cooling methods (i.e. Peltier Elements). Since most engineers need to worry about heat, or about fitting multiple functions into small spaces, I think all the skills I acquired were very useful to my future.

The most rewarding part of the internship was being surrounded by other young people who were passionate about their research. My supervisor was a young and very idealistic researcher. He loved his work, and that made working with him exciting. I also liked how all the other students who were writing their theses were all so self-motivated. It made for a very inspiring work environment."

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