Michal Ronovský

PhD student researching performing materials for fuel cells

The ESRF made me change the direction of my career. I was a master’s student in biophysics when I had the possibility of coming to the ESRF in an Erasmus internship for four months. Previously I thought that after my master’s I would find a job in industry, but those four months changed my mind: I loved working at the ESRF in surface physics in fuel cells. During the internship, I Iost my fear of programming. Coupled to that were the environment at the ESRF, where people care about you, the setting of Grenoble with the mountains around it and, believe it or not, the canteen! I absolutely love the canteen! So suddenly, the prospect of doing a PhD started to become very appealing. Then I found the InnovaXN PhD positions, with projects led by industry and academia, and the ESRF in my case. The rest is history.

I now study fuel cell catalysts for oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) at ID31, jointly with the Technical University in Berlin and Johnson Matthey. The goal is to test catalysts (that I make in Berlin) with membrane electrode assemblies (made in the UK), the heart of the fuel cell, and try to find more performing materials for these systems. I play several musical instruments and love cycling trips (my longest journey took 40 days!). I love socialising, so Covid-19 has been a bit tough, especially since I arrived at the beginning of the autumn lockdown.

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