Green hydrogen – fellowships for a better future

Clean hydrogen energy
© Gettyimages/Sakorn Sukkasemsakorn

They are exploring the world of green hydrogen and shaping the future of renewable energies: three international fellows from the DAAD’s “ERA Fellowships – Green Hydrogen” programme report on their exciting research projects at leading research institutions worldwide and talk about the other opportunities the funding has opened up for them.

Hristina Salipur, Serbia

“My name is Hristina Salipur. Last autumn, from September to November 2023, I took part in the DAAD’s ‘ERA Fellowships – Green Hydrogen’ programme. I spent three months doing a research internship at the physical chemistry department at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) in Munich and was thus able to work alongside scientific experts at a renowned research institute. It was a really great experience for me. I hope that many other students and young researchers will also learn about and be able to profit from the programme.

I was told about the programme by my doctoral supervisor at the Institute of Chemistry, Technology and Metallurgy in Belgrade. I applied and was accepted. I would advise anyone interested in the fellowship programme to get all the necessary paperwork ready in good time, like the visa for example, as that can take quite a while.

The goal of my internship was to go a step further in terms of making additional modifications to semiconductors, as this allows a high level of efficiency to be achieved when converting solar energy into hydrogen. Or, to put it more simply, to improve the production of green hydrogen. At the LMU I was integrated into a diverse and interdisciplinary environment and was able to gain a lot of useful experience. This transfer of knowledge was very valuable to me, on both a personal and a professional level. I had the chance to further improve my English, to get out of my comfort zone, to meet people from other cultures and to broaden my horizons. I believe that the internship also had benefits for society in the sense that it raised awareness of renewable and clean energy sources as a substitute for fossil fuels in developing countries.”

Soufiane Bahou, Morocco

Green hydrogen plays an important role in global efforts to find clean energy solutions. That’s why I’m so interested in this field. I want to dedicate myself to sustainable and environmentally friendly practices. During my PhD my doctoral supervisor drew my attention to the DAAD’s ‘ERA Fellowships – Green Hydrogen’ programme and encouraged me to apply. Now, since September 2023, I have been conducting a research project at the Leibniz Institute for Catalysis in Rostock. One of the biggest publicly funded catalysis institutes in Europe, it focuses above all on applied basic research. My project involves producing hydrogen by breaking down ammonia. My fellowship covers a period of twelve months.

One particular highlight is the collaborative environment at the institute, which fosters ideas sharing and cooperation with other experts in the field. By directly participating in and actively working on a high-level research project, I can apply my theoretical knowledge in practice. That’s very positive and rewarding for me and is contributing to my professional and academic growth.

Phillip Nathrath, Germany

“I am a doctoral student at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, where I am a research associate at the Institute of Chemical Reaction Engineering. I already devoted a lot of time during my degree course to renewable energy production and transforming the chemicals industry to make it more sustainable. When I began my PhD, I then delved more deeply into the field of hydrogen. I believe that hydrogen will be an important part of the energy mix in future and that Germany has the potential to be a pioneer in using this technology.

The DAAD’s “ERA Fellowships – Green Hydrogen” programme enabled me to spend three months in Melbourne at the Centre for Industrial Flow Chemistry of the Australian research agency CSIRO. I had already established contact with some researchers in the working group in advance, so I found it relatively easy to settle in. Everyone there was very open and there was a pleasant working environment with reciprocal sharing of ideas and results. Despite my short stay, I was able to carry out some interesting experiments and gather results that can be used as the basis for future research. I am still in contact with people at CSIRO.

I can heartily recommend the programme, and indeed have already done so at our institute. Without the fellowship it would have been impossible for me to fund such a stay abroad during my PhD. Australia is a very long away from Germany, so it is expensive to travel there. The cost of living is also comparatively high there, so I’m really grateful to have been given this opportunity. I can’t wait to see how collaboration in the working groups develops and how I can contribute my knowledge and experience as an alumni.”

* mandatory field