MRes courses and PhD Reseachers
If you are interested in Doctoral study, it’s important to gain support for your application from your potential supervisor before making a formal application to the College. Check the available PhD research programmes at the PhD Chemistry research.
PhD Studentship for green hydrogen production
PhD Studentship available on metal oxide electrocatalysts for green hydrogen production.This studentship is part of the Advanced Characterisation of Materials Centre for Doctoral Training, co-sponsored by BASF, supervised by James Durrant and co-supervised by Ifan Stephens (Materials Dept) and Daniel Malko (BASF). Applicants should preferably be UK home students, with possibility for EU students. The project will start Oct 2022 for 4 years, and will include a circa 3 month secondment to BASF.
Project summary: Green hydrogen production from proton exchange membrane (PEM) catalysts is the most amenable technology for hydrogen production from renewable electricity, based on the UK Government’s Hydrogen Strategy, 2021. However, the fundamental bottleneck in scaling up PEM electrolysis to the terawatt level is discovering catalysts for the anodic water oxidation reaction, that are active and stable at low pH and highly oxidizing conditions and do not rely on high loadings of precious metals such as iridium. Development of more active and stable catalysts requires fundamental understanding about the active sites and reaction mechanisms driving catalysis and degradation. In this project, we will investigate a range of oxide based electrocatalysts (including those provided by BASF) using (i) operando time-resolved optical spectroscopy (Durrant group) to determine the density and kinetics of redox active centres as a function of applied potential, (ii) ultra high sensitive operando mass spectrometry (Stephens group) to probe the degree of lattice oxygen participation and gas-phase degradation products under industrially relevant current densities and (iii) post-mortem inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry to determine the amount of dissolved species in solution. Based on this mechanistic understanding, we can rationally design next-generation catalyst chemistries with minimal loading of precious metals that can not only result in improved efficiencies but can also withstand the harsh environments experienced under operating conditions, by eliminating the sites most prone to dissolution.
If you are interested in this project, please contact Xiaoe Li.
Available Research Opportunities
For all other potential opportunities, as a postdoctoral researcher, postgraduate student or for an undergraduate internship, please contact Xiaoe Li.
You can find more funding opportunities here.