Graduation Project RIFT


Energy storage is one of the main challenges in the energy transition. An important step to the realization of a solution for many industries, is the usage of iron as an energy carrier. The Iron Fuel Technology is a circular process that has various serious advantages compared to existing technologies:

• No CO2 is released during the combustion of iron fuel;

• Iron fuel is an energy carrier with a high energy density that can be reused endlessly;

• Iron fuel can be stored transported safer and cheaper compared to many other (renewable) fuels.

The Iron Fuel Technology makes use of two distinct processes: i) the combustion of iron, where iron reacts with oxygen to form iron oxide, and ii) reduction, where iron oxide reacts with hydrogen to form iron and water. The reduction of iron oxide that is created by the combustion of iron fuel is a new process. Therefore, many questions are still open which need to be answered in order to create a process that satisfies the technical and economic requirements for commercial application.

Research question

The reduction of iron oxide with hydrogen is a reaction between solid and gaseous reactants. RIFT aims to develop a system that uses a fluidized bed reactor, which operates at elevated temperature and pressure, for this process. At present, RIFT has executed experiments on a bench-scale fluidized bed reactor that is batch-operated. To predict its performance, a steady-state phenomenological model has been created to predict solids conversion.

In this project, the main goal is to improve, extend and experimentally validate the phenomenological fluidized bed model for reduction of iron oxide. In this way the performance of the reactor can be better predicted. Moreover, as RIFT is planning to build a continuously operated fluidized bed, the phenomenological model will be extended such that it can be applied to a continuously operated fluidized bed. Should time allow for it, there is also an option to perform experiments on this continuous setup and use the data for validation and improvement of the phenomenological model.


For the experimental part, RIFT has a container-sized system which contains the reactor and all equipment for measurement. The work in this assignment will be executed in collaboration with staff of RIFT.

RIFT, founded in 2020, is a spin-off company from TU/e student team SOLID. We aim to develop the Iron Fuel Technology towards commercial applications to enable the energy transition in energy-intensive industries. You will be part of an ambitious team (15-20 people) consisting of both young and experienced engineers that are dedicated to bringing this technology to practice.


Lex Scheepers

+31 6 306 400 55