Development of a hybrid hydrogen compressor: electrochemical at low-pressure/ adsorption at high-pressure.

Context, Integration in the project dynamics

Compression of hydrogen up to service pressure for refueling cars is a serious bottleneck, as car mechanical compressors remain very costly. This subject fits within the axis “hydrogen storage” of the Impact project, due to the adsorption stage of H2 in activated carbon materials, but also within the axis “hydrogen production” because hydrogen is produced by water electrolysis. The ambition is to create a new technology for hydrogen compression at 700 bars, which is the service pressure of on-board tanks used for automotive applications.


Innovative aspects and cross-disciplinary collaborations

The IJL will produce the nanoporous materials, based on activated carbons, and carry out the hydrogen adsorption studies. The LEMTA will realize the electrochemical compressor and optimize the complete system. The proposed PhD will give the opportunity to bring to a successful conclusion the first collaboration between the IJL (site of Epinal) and the LEMTA laboratories.


Targeted scientific advances from the state of art

A new technology able to produce and compress hydrogen in decentralized facilities of small and average size is proposed.


Description of the subject

The objective is to develop a hydrogen hybrid compressor comprising: (i) an electrochemical compressor for the low-pressure stage (5 → 40bar) and; (ii) an adsorption compressor, based on activated carbons (ACs), for the high-pressure stage (40 → 700 bar). The electrochemical compression of hydrogen consists in creating a flow of protons, through a protonic conductive membrane, from a low pressure compartment towards a high pressure compartment by imposing an electric potential difference. Hydrogen adsorption on ACs takes place by physisorption, which is completely reversible, lowering and/or increasing temperature allows directly obtaining compressed hydrogen at 700 bar.
The possibility of obtaining compressed hydrogen by simple temperature increasing opens new perspectives which deserve to be explored.


Supervision: Vanessa FIERRO (Institut Jean Lamour, IJL, CNRS UL)
Co-supervision : Gaël MARANZANA (LEMTA, UL CNRS)
Laboratory in which the thesis will be prepared: IJL
Doctoral School: EMMA


How to apply

In order to prepare a PhD thesis within the Lorraine Université d’Excellence Program, the interested candidate should consult the PhD topics offered in each social and economic challenges.
These PhD thesis topics are proposed by faculty members or researchers accredited to supervise research.

Candidate application period: according to graduate school schedule

  • visit graduate school web site for application rules. EMMA, doctoral school
  • contact mail adresses :
    doctoral school director
    Denis.maillet (@)
    secretary chrsitne.sartory (@)

Each candidate may submit an application on up to three separate research topics.


Application analysis period by each graduate school
The graduate school reviews the applicants for a doctoral contract in the relevant disciplines. They check the level of supervision for each supervisor and the situation of trained doctors. Each candidate will meet the laboratory director, supervisor and a representative from the graduate school. This interview is to identify the candidate’s motivations and suitability as a candidate for the PhD project proposed by the supervisor. A recommendation will be made to the graduate school. This will summarize the strengths and/or weaknesses of the application.

PhD grants will include monthly income for the PhD student (roughly 1700 € for research only, complement can be provided for teaching missions)) and environment for research in the research unit.

Please be aware that in order to offer a variety of subjects, more positions are posted here than available funding. The LUE executive committee will make the final choice on the granted funding (up to 12 positions), based on the recommendations by the doctoral schools.