Internship Zero Emission Fuels

  • Internship
  • Delft

Website Zero Emission Fuels


Two-thirds of all energy used is non-electric. Low cost synthetic fuels could disrupt this non-electric part of the energy market without the need of building new infrastructure. A major challenge in the production of low cost synthetic fuels is capital cost of the production unit. An approach to reduce the capital cost of the production unit is extreme integration of subsystems combined with system size reduction so that a plant can be designed as a product. Consequently, mass manufacturing techniques become an option. A concept for such a highly integrated, mass manufactured methanol production unit is shown in the figure.


The unit shown in the figure converts energy and air into methanol. The electrical energy needed to run the process is delivered by a 300 [W] solar panel. The air contains the feedstocks needed to produce methanol: CO2 and water. After the CO2 and water are filtered from the air the water is fed into an alkaline electrolyser and is split into hydrogen and oxygen. Finally, the CO2 and hydrogen are fed into a methanol reactor which converts the feedstock into a mixture of methanol and water. This mixture can be separated by using the concept of a heat pipe to distillate the mixture into a stream of water and high-quality methanol. The aim is to design the system so that everything fits on the back of the solar panel.

Team ZEF

What we offer is the possibility to work in a young, dynamic, and international team. In fact, ZEF was created by three experienced tech entrepreneurs and is developing the ZEF methanol micro plant through groups of students and technology experts. This team changes every 6 months and from January 2019 onwards the fourth group “Team ZEF 4” will continue the development of the subsystems. Also, we are located on campus in the ‘Process and Energy department’. 


Within the team you can work on one of the following subsystems:

  • Direct air capture: making sure we capture enough CO2 and water from air.
  •  CO2 compressor: increasing the pressure of the CO2 to 50 bars.
  •  Alkaline electrolysis system: making hydrogen from the water.
  • Methanol synthesis: create the methanol using the CO2 and water.
  • Distillation: separating the methanol and water mixture.

Within these subsystems the activities include:

  •  Modelling & equipment sizing
  • 3D CAD design
  • Experimentation and data-acquisition

To make sure that you are working on something you enjoy we will decide together which task you will be responsible for (based on your skillset and interests). The focus of Team ZEF 4 is to use the current test setups to characterize the different subsystems and ultimately integrate them efficiently into one fully functional prototype.


Contact: / / 0614680887 (Ulrich)

Internship Duration: 4 months (or more)

Starting Month: January / February

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