Hien Nguyen received two research awards at the end of 2020. Hien's work is focussed on the improvement of proton exchange membrane in fuel cells in the Electrochemical Energy Systems group of Dr. Matthias Breitwieser and Dr. Severin Vierrath at Hahn-Schickard. She is pursuing her PhD at the Department of Microsystems Engineering on "Development and characterization of hydrocarbon-based, fluorine-free membrane electrode assemblies for PEM fuel cells." For her PhD project, she won the second place out of 25 competitive submissions in the ideas competition "Energy and Environment - My Idea for Tomorrow", which was awarded by the german foundation „Energie & Klimaschutz“ as part of the Energy Campus 2020.
Furthermore, she received the "Robert Mayr Prize" of the University of Freiburg, worth 3,000 euros, for her master's thesis on the development of platinum cobalt catalyst layers in proton-exchange membrane fuel cells To enable a short-term market ramp-up of hydrogen fuel cell applications, such as emission-free svehicles, significant cost production of proton-exchange membrane fuel cells is required. To achieve this goal, the amount of precious platinum in the cathode catalyst layer needs to be reduced. In her work, she developed novel catalyst layers with 75 % reduced catalyst loading, still meeting the current performance goals for hydrogen fuel cells.