UCL Department of Chemical Engineering


Erik Charles Engebretsen

Erik was born in Denmark to Thai and Norwegian parents before attending International Schools in Germany and Thailand. In 2008, he graduated from the International School of Bangkok as Salutatorian and moved to London for his undergraduate degree. In 2012, he was awarded an MEng with first class honours from University College London’s Department of Chemical Engineering.

Erik completed a number of internships in the oil industry during his undergraduate degree. He started as a safety engineer with Foster Wheeler (Sriracha, Thailand) in 2008, reviewing safety features during a refinery revamp.  In the summer of 2009, he worked as a research engineer with IRPC Ltd. (Bangkok, Thailand), where his main deliverable was a feasibility study on algal fuel in Thailand.  In the summer of 2011, he worked as a process engineer at Fawley refinery with ExxonMobil (Southampton, UK).  He was part of a time that submitted a feasibility and economic  study on integrating a new heat exchanger into an existing network in order to reduce furnace firing.

Following his experiences in industry, he joined the department as a graduate student in October 2012.  He is researching fuel cell diagnostic techniques at the Electrochemical Innovation Lab (EIL) in collaboration with the National Physical Laboratory (NPL).

Research project

Title: Transfer Function Analysis as a Novel Diagnostic Tool for PEM Fuel Cells.

Erik's primary research focus is using transfer function analysis as a novel diagnostic tool for Polymer Electrolyte Membrane (PEM) Fuel Cells. Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy (EIS) is a well-established diagnostic technique which involves imposing a sinusoidal voltage on a fuel cell and measuring the current response (or vice versa). Transfer function analysis is applied by analysing the relationship between the current response and imposed voltage.  These signals will have a frequency-dependent amplitude ratio and phase shift.  The frequency-dependence can reveal performance information about various impedances in the fuel cell because of the relative speeds at which internal processes occur.

Erik is looking into similar cause-effect relationships which may reveal further information about fuel cell performance, including electrothermal (imposing a current perturbation and monitoring the temperature response) and pneumato-electrical (imposing a pressure perturbation and monitoring the electrical response) impedance.      


MEng in Chemical Engineering, UCL, 2012