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Development of an electronic Printed Circuit Board (PCB) for monitoring and control of a fuel cell test rig. Internship at the European astronaut centre (EAC)


Descrizione Energy production and storage concepts have been identified as an important area for the future human spaceflight campaigns. Studying, understanding and validating new processes to produce and store energy for a Moon/cis-lunar habitat is one key points addressed by the Spaceship EAC initiative.
Among the different energy system that can be used for space application, Fuel Cells (FCs) are attractive for their specific high-power production and their relative low weight. The development of a small scale modular FC test system (with attendant balance of plant systems) is currently one of the projects developed by the Spaceship EAC team.

The recent developments in FC technologies from non-space sectors and the global shifting towards carbon-free energy system, where hydrogen is one of the main alternative, could be very beneficial for advancing the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of space FC, also giving room to very promising “spin-in” initiatives and maximising cross-developments benefits between space and non-space sectors. EAC is well positioned to help advance this technology with interested partners in preparation for future potential lunar missions.
To summarize, the overall objectives of the fuel cell project are:
• Testing of a small (~ 1 kW) Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) FC test rig;
• Conduct experimental test to assess the FC stack performances;
• Measure all the relevant physical quantities for a quantitative analysis of the FC properties/consumptions/etc. and for validating a MATLAB®/Simulink® lumped parameters model;
• Develop a simply Guided User Interface (GUI) and procedures for starting/operating the FC test rig by non-ad-hoc personnel;
• Design and develop an interface to power generic hardware (e.g. small rover, etc.);
• Study the integration of the FC test rig with the EAC analog facilities (LUNA and FLEXHab) to be built at the ESA-DLR campus in Cologne;
• System level study to understand the potential integration of FCs into a closed-loop system architecture for Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS);
• Trade off studies for consumables production with ISRU technique;
• Publish conference/journal paper on the main outcome of the research activity.
The internship focuses on the creation of an electronic Printed Circuit Board (PCB) for monitoring and commanding a fuel cell test rig. The candidate must design and optimize the PCB for the control of the FC taking care of both the routing of the tracks and the connection scheme of the components (sensors, valves, and fluidic connections).
Subsequently the candidate will assemble the prototype of the overall system taking into account all the related subsystems. He will test functionality in the laboratory and will provide feedback report to Spaceship EAC team members.
The candidate shall have an excellent knowledge of software for designing electronic board such as Autodesk Eagle or similar.
A marked competence with MATLAB®/Simulink®, Arduino and/or Raspberry Pi software for the fuel cell control interface is also required.
A good knowledge of CAD software (SolidWorks®) is also required.
Good practical skills are required to handle different hardware component in a scientific laboratory environment.
The candidate shall be fluent in English (B2 or above). Knowledge of other ESA member state languages is considered an asset.

Scadenza validita proposta 20/06/2020      PROPONI LA TUA CANDIDATURA

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