Christoph Birkl did his Master's degree at Risø Campus

“I find Risø an insatiable source of knowledge and motivation”

Christorph Birkl from Austria is currently pursuing his PhD on lithium-ion batteries at the University of Oxford, UK, diagnosing and modelling degradation in the batteries and in the process using all the skills and expertise he got while doing his Master's at DTU Energy in 2011-2012.

“We are doing lots of EIS (electrochemical impedance spectroscopy; red) on batteries, which turns out to be quite tricky. So I still benefit a great deal from the excellent training and education, I got at Risø,” says the 28-year old Christoph Birkl.

To Christoph Birkl sustainable energy is one of the biggest ­– if not THE biggest – issue(s) of his generation, so he went looking for the best university to continue his studies after taking a bachelor in Environmental Engineering at the MCI, University of Applied Science Innsbruck, in Austria - and found DTU Energy.

Among the best in the world

“The setup for master courses was really good and very flexible; the quality of the SOFC-research at Risø is among the best in the world; and the study was more research-based than at any other university, I found. They all had appealing aspects, but none had the same expertise in SOFC. Also DTU Energy does a lot of cooperation with industrial partners, which is definitely good and not very common.”

He considers DTU Energy among the best places to study, and he is reinforced in that belief when comparing the experiences of his fellow students from other universities. They talk about loads upon loads of theory, while he talks practise.

“Risø has a very good and well-deserved reputation within the field of energy-research and especially studies in SOFC (solid oxide fuel cells). I had a brilliant supervisor, Anne Hauch, who challenged me to learn and made sure I was involved in everything and got a lot of hands-on experiences.”

Also Christoph Birkl experienced a lot of interaction between research groups at Risø which he has now found out is quite unique compared to other places, where research groups are more isolated.

Part of the team

“During their master degrees, a lot of students experience talk-environments, while I was part of a research oriented environment, with everybody involved in the planning, the execution and the discussions. I was part of the team.”

When asked if he would recommend DTU Energy, Christoph Birkl doesn’t hesitate a second.

“Yes, I would highly recommend master projects at DTU Energy. The people working at Risø are an insatiable source of knowledge and motivation, and receiving training at their world-class research facilities is an invaluable opportunity to develop research skills.”

Christophs best lessons from DTU Energy:

Scientifically, I learnt a lot about sensible experimental planning and set up, as well as data acquisition and analysis. Developing best practice methodologies is extremely useful in research and I am still benefitting a great deal from my training at Risø.

Non-scientifically, my most important lesson was to seek out advice from and discussions with the researchers and technicians around me. It can be very helpful to look at a problem from different points of view in order to avoid dead ends. On top of that, communication in general is imperative for any project to be successful.