PDRF in Fuel Cell MEA Electrochemistry


The HySA Systems Integration & Technology Validation Competence Centre, HySA Systems, co-hosted by the University of the Western Cape (UWC) and the South African Institute for Advanced Materials Chemistry (SAIAMC), and directed by Dr Cordellia Sita, is one of three National Competence Centres that were initiated by the Department of Science and Technology’s National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies (HFCT) Flagship Project, also known as Hydrogen South Africa or HySA.  This long-term (15-year) Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies (HFCT) Research, Development, and Innovation (RDI) strategy was officially launched in September 2008 by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) in South Africa. 

The main objective with HySA Systems is to (i) develop HFC components, systems and prototypes, (ii) perform technology validation and system integration in three key HySA programmes: (1) Combined Heat and Power (CHP), (2) Portable systems and (3) Hydrogen Fuelled Vehicles (HFV).  HySA Systems is also responsible for the development, prototyping, testing, validating and commissioning of the following key technologies: Membrane Electrode Assemblies (MEAs) for High Temperature (HT) (≥120oC) Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cells, HT-PEM fuel cell stacks, metal hydrides for hydrogen storage and compression and system integration of Energy Storage Devices for domestic and automotive applications.

Scope of Work

The MEA & Fuel Cell Scientists or Engineers will be involved principally in the CHP and HFV programmes, although, she/he may be required to input in all of the three HySA Systems programmes (see above).  Initially the scope of the work will focus upon the development, fabrication, commissioning and validation of HT-MEAs.

The MEA & Fuel Cell Scientists or Engineers work will include: MEA development, MEA characterization (in-situ & ex-situ) and MEA validation/testing etc.  A strong understanding in the areas of Fuel Cell Electrochemistry/Electrochemical Engineering, Materials Chemistry, Electrochemical testing methods of MEA components and testing protocols (both domestic & automotive) of MEAs will be required.  Some understanding of Modeling would be advantageous.

A significant amount of practical work, such as building, testing and commissioning of MEAs, is expected to be carried out within HySA Systems.  The MEA & Fuel Cell Scientists or Engineers will play a key role in several technology development projects, and she/he will have specific technical responsibilities related to design, drawing, building/construction, testing, and commissioning of various MEAs (domestic & automotive).


The MEA & Fuel Cell Scientists or Engineers will work closely with international experts (R&D and Industry) in the field, and will also be expected to co-supervise Master and PhD students in Engineering/Science from other academic institutions (HySA Systems Spokes).  The successful candidate will be strongly encouraged to (i) publish patents and papers in high impact factor journals and disseminate her/his results at national/international conferences, events, workshops etc and (ii) develop, commission and validate novel state-of-the-art hydrogen & fuel cell Products (from concept, drawings, construction and prototyping). Her/his direct managers will be Dr. Sivakumar Pasupathi and Dr Cordellia Sita.

Contract Period

A minimum contract period of 1 year is recommended for these positions which are available immediately.

How to Apply: Please email your full CV (inc. a list of publications) together with a covering letter (inc. list of achievements, success etc) to:

Dr Cordellia Sita

Director of HySA Systems Competence Centre

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