June 2024,EMEA workshop

Dr Qilei Song, Dr Toby Wong, and Naiqi Meng attended the EMEA2024 Workshop on Ion Exchange Membranes for Energy Applications. Great talks and discussions with experts in the ion exchange membrane community. 



21st May, PhD viva

Congratulations to Dezhi Liu for passing his PhD viva! Thanks to Prof Maria-Chiara Ferrari and Prof Daryl Williams for their examination. Well done Dr Liu!

May 2024, NAMS conference

Sunshine Iguodala and Toby Wong attended the North American Membrane Society 2024 conference. Sunshine gave a wonderful talk on her PhD research. Toby gave a poster presentation on ion-exchange membranes for redox flow batteries. No alternative text description for this image

November 2023, Luke and Toby completed their PhD viva!

Congratulations to Luke Petit and Toby Wong on passing their PhD viva! Well done! Many thanks to all the internal and external examiners, and collaborators who have supported their research along the journey. 

14 April 2023, Rui secured an Assistant Professor position at WMG, University of Warwick

Dr Rui Tan has been offered an Assistant Professor position at WMG, International Manufacturing Centre, University of Warwick. Many congratulations! Rui will start the position later this year and remain a visitor in the group. 

The organisations

10-14th April 2023, MRS conference

Anqi attended the 2023 Materials Research Society Spring Meeting in  San Francisco, USA. He presented a talk on his PhD and postdoc work: "Polymer Ion-sieving Membranes Enable High-Performance Aqueous Organic Redox Flow Batteries"

8 March 2023, Chunchun Won a Bronze medal in STEM for Britain Awards 2023

 Congratulations to Chunchun Ye on winning a Bronze medal in the prestigious STEM for Britain Awards 2023 in the chemistry section. Chunchun's PhD research was focused on the development of new ion-sieving polymer membranes for flow battery energy storage technology. She visited our lab for extended periods to test the membranes and performance in batteries. Her PhD research has led to two publications in Nature Communications and Angew Chem Int Ed

Find out more about Chunchun's research on the University of Edinburgh website; and RSC website.STEM for Britain Awards 2023 featuring University of Edinburgh School of Chemistry PDRA Chunchun Ye (2nd from left)

3 March 2023, Anqi selected as ACS 2023 PMSE Future Faculty Honoree

Dr Anqi Wang has been selected as a 2023 PMSE Future Faculty Honoree, and invited to present at the PMSE symposium at the Fall ACS Meeting in San Francisco (August 13-17, 2023).  Many congratulations! The PMSE Future Faculty Symposium features invited oral presentations by honorees who have made significant contributions to their respective fields within polymer materials science and engineering and are applying to academic positions during that year. Check out more details on the PMSE website.

2022 Future Faculty Symposium Honorees Announced – PMSE

2nd March 2023, ERC Proof of Concept Grant

The group has been awarded one ERC Proof of Concept Grant with 150,000 Euro, to develop new ion-selective membranes for redox flow batteries. We will explore potential pathways to commercialise the technology.  Check out the news on the Imperial website. 


Due to the uncertainty of UK's association with Horizon Europe, the ERC grant has been funded by the UK government's guarantee funding through EPSRC. 

ERC Proof of Concept Grant - www.max-planck-innovation.com

13 January 2023, PIM membrane research published in Advanced Materials

Our latest paper on ion-selective PIM membranes for aqueous organic flow batteries for energy storage. Great work led by Dr Anqi Wang, and collaboration with teams across Imperial, UCL, and Edinburgh. Link to the paper: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/adma.202210098


10 January 2023, SynHiSel Annual Meeting

We were delighted to host the annual showcase event EPSRC programme grant SynHiSel at Imperial. We received insightful feedback from academic and industrial advisors and had networking for postdoc and PhD students. Lots of discussions on high-selectivity membranes! 

Zhiyu, Sunshine, Dezhi, Naiqi gave poster presentations on their research. 

8th December 2022, Group Christmas Lunch

We had a great Christmas lunch and celebrated our group’s achievements in 2022. Best wishes for a magnificent 2023!

27th October 2022, Research in organic electrode materials published in JACS

Our new research article has been published in JACS. We reported the development of redox-active PIM polymers and their application as organic electrode materials in lithium-ion batteries. Amazing collaboration work led by postdoc researchers Dr Anqi Wang and Dr Rui Tan, with molecular modeling by Charlotte Breakwell (MRes project) supervised by Prof Kim Jelfs and Prof Martijn Zwijnenburg,  and collaboration on the molecular design of redox PIM polymers with McKeown Group at Edinburgh. This paper involves collaboration between our group with collaborators in 5 chemistry depts at Imperial, UCL, Edinburgh, Nankai University, and Tongji University.  A truly interdisciplinary collaboration between Chemical engineers with chemists, from synthesis to battery manufacturing. 

Check out the new release on the Imperial website:



24th October 2022, Deputy EU Ambassador visited our lab!

We were honored to host the visit of Deputy EU Ambassador Ms Nicole Mannion to our lab. Dr Song and the group introduced our research on batteries and water electrolyzers that will help develop energy storage. Dr song also explained the importance of the  European Research Council funding and the collaborations we have established across the UK and Europe to develop clean energy technologies.




20 October 2022, Energy Fuels Rising Star

Dr Song was selected as  2022 Energy and Fuels Rising Stars. Energy & Fuels has established an annual recognition of Energy and Fuels Rising Stars since 2021 to honor early- and mid-career researchers (EMCRs) who have made significant contributions their respective fields of energy research. At the time of nomination, rising star candidates should be in their independent research careers and 12 years or less after the award of Ph.D. degrees. The candidates of rising stars were identified by our global team of editors and members of editorial advisory board. Read more details on the Energy Fuels website.


27 September 2022, BP visit and meeting

We were delighted to host the visit of our industrial partners from bp-ICAM and show our research activities in membrane technology, batteries, and hydrogen technologies. 

1 September 2022, Chemical looping materials published in Nature Communications

We had a new research paper published in Nature Communications.  https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-022-32593-6

Check out the news on Imperial website.

Lead author and PhD candidate Michael High smiles as he holds up a jar of the materials needed for redox reactions
Lead author Michael High tests the new materials in a fluidised bed reactor

We reported the development of layered double hydroxides (LDHs) as precursor materials to prepare high-performance mixed metal oxides for use as oxygen storage materials in thermochemical looping processes for combustion, gas purification, and potential applications in many other energy processes. 

18 August 2022, Farewell to Gabrielle Moore

Congratulations to Gabrielle Moore from MIT Chem Eng on finishing her UROP summer project with our group. Her project is focused on gas separation membranes for CO2 capture and H2 separation. Good teamwork with PhD student Sunshine Iguodala.  Read Gabi's UROP research on MIT website. Gabi will carry on gas separation membrane research with Prof Zach Smith at MIT. 


13 August 2022, Group Hiking in Seven Sisters

We had a wonderful group trip to Brighton and Seven Sisters this Friday.

28 July 2022, Visit to Schlumberger in Cambridge

We had a good project meeting with collaborators at Schlumberger and discussed new opportunities for collaboration. We enjoyed punting in River Cam and PIMMs.


25 July 2022, PIM membrane published in Angew Chem

New paper published in Angew Chem Int Ed. We reported the application of amidoxime-functionalized PIM polymer membranes for aqueous organic redox flow batteries. Great teamwork with teams across Imperial,  Neil McKeown Group, and Stefan Guldin Group at UCL. 

13 July 2022, UK Porous Materials Conference

Rui, Zhiyu, Charlotte, and Sunshine attended the UK Porous Materials conference. A nice photo with Dr Tom Bennett. 


8-9th June 2022, H2FC Supergen Research Conference in St Andrews

Qilei, Anqi, Zhiming, and Luke attended the H2FC conference, at the University of St Andrews. 

Luke presented his PhD research on the development and application of proton conductive polymer membranes for H2-Mn regenerative fuel cells (hybrid gas-liquid flow batteries).


8th June 2022, Flow battery membrane research in Nature Communications

Our latest research in Nature Communications, reporting the development of ion-conductive PIM membranes and their applications in aqueous organic redox flow batteries. A great collaboration between Imperial, Edinburgh, and Shell. 

Check out the paper https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-022-30943-y

10 May 2022, RSC Energy Sector PhD Thesis Prize

 Congratulations again to Dr Anqi Wang for winning the RSC Energy Sector PhD thesis award!

Check out more information on the RSC website

2 May 2022, Polysulfide air flow battery published in Nature Communications

A new paper published in Nature Communications, reporting Polysulfide-Air Redox Flow Batteries (PSA RFBs). A great collaboration with the group of Prof Anthony Kucernak and Prof Nigel Brandon. 

A cost-effective alkaline polysulfide-air redox flow battery enabled by a dual-membrane cell architecture

4th April 2022, Shell RFB meeting

We were delighted to host the visit from our industrial collaborator from Shell Energy storage team, Dr Peter Klusener, and to show our membrane and flow battery research at the annual Imperial-Shell meeting. 

21 March 2022, Flow battery membrane research published in Joule

Dr Qilei Song is a co-author of one paper published in Joule, led by the group of Prof Xianfeng Li in Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics. The study reported roll-to-roll manufacturing of meter square-sized low-cost membranes and applications in kW-scale flow battery stacks, for long-duration energy storage. 


October 2021, PhD Scholarships for UK/Home Students

We have a few PhD studentships available in the area of energy conversion and storage.  

  • Project 1: Molecular engineering of organic redox molecules for redox flow batteries  (link)
  • Project 2: Synthesis of sustainable membranes for energy storage (Link chemistry background preferred)
  • Project 3: Grid-scale energy storage in flow batteries using sustainable materials (Link)
  • Project 4: Development of next-generation water electrolysis for green hydrogen production (Link)

Note that Project 1 is suitable for one MRes applicant. Project 2-4 are available via SSCP-DTP Studentship.

Detailed application guidelines for Project 2-4 are provided on the website:


1 August 2021, 5 year Anniversary

We had a group lunch to celebrate the achievements and the 5-year anniversary of our group. We were resilient and supportive of each other during the pandemic. Look forward to more exciting science and training more talents in the next 5 years!

2 August 2021, Charlotte won CCP5 poster competition!

Charlotte Breakwell attended the 26th Summer School (2021) organized by the Collaborative Computational Project for ​Computer Simulation of Condensed Phases (CCP5), and presented her research on molecular simulation of PIM membranes: 'Atomistic Simulations of Sulfonated Polymer of Intrinsic Microporosity (PIM) Membranes'.  Congratulations on winning the poster competition! Read the details of the summer school on the STFC website.


Lab updates in 2021

Congratulations to Anqi, Rui and Chunchun on completing their PhD research! Anqi and Rui have started their postdoc research on the ERC grant on 1/8/2021. 


26-27th July 2021, Anqi and Rui completed their PhD viva!

Congratulations to Anqi Wang and Rui Tan on passing their PhD viva! Well done Dr Wang and Dr Tan! Many thanks to all the internal and external examiners, and collaborators who have supported their research along the journey. 


Anqi's viva with Prof Andy Cooper and Prof Kang Li Rui's PhD viva with Prof Peter Budd and Prof Ifan Stephens

PhD studentships for 2020-2021 entry

Two PhD studentships are available in the group for 2020-2021 entry. Check out the website for details.


ERC starting grant 3/9/2019

Dr Qilei Song has been awarded the prestigious ERC starting grant from the European Research Council. Project title: Design and NanoEngineering of Microporous Membranes for Energy Storage (NanoMMES, 1.5 Million Euro)This is an important recognition and a timely grant to suppport our research on advanced membrane materials and applications for energy conversion and storage. We are grateful to the support of the department, our collaborators and colleagues. Look forward to exciting research in the next 5 years! We will advertise positions for postdoc researchers and scholarships for PhD students soon. 

Read the news release



New PhD student

New PhD students starting in 2019

Congratulations to Luke Petit from University of Oxford on award of an EPSRC DTP PhD scholarship. Luke will join the group in October 2019 working on redox flow batteries for energy storage. Welcome!

Congratulations to Toby Wong on an award of CDT PhD studentship. Toby is currently an MRes student in Department of Chemistry at Imperial College London. He will join the group in October 2019 working on porous membranes for hydrocarbons separation, funded by BP International Centre for Advanced Materials (BP-ICAM). 

Upcoming Talks and Presentations

14th International Conference on Materials Chemistry (MC14), Birmingham, 8 - 11 July 2019

Our group will give oral and poster presentations. 

4th UK Porous Materials Conference, Cardiff, 1st July, 2019

The group will give oral and poster presentations.

Institute for Molecular Science and Engineering, Lunchtime Seminar, 25th June, 2019


RSC Researcher Mobility Grant

Congratulations to PhD student, Anqi Wang on an award of the Royal Society of Chemistry Researcher Mobility Grant. The award will support Anqi to visit Prof. Neil McKeown research group at University of Edinburgh to work on a new collaboration project on synthesis of new PIM polymer membranes.  Big thanks to RSC for the support for early career researchers. 


PhD studentships

Two PhD studentships are available in the group. Check out the website for details.


Upcoming Talks and Presentations

17th Aachen Membrane Colloquium, Aachen, 14-15th November, 2018

Dr Qilei Song, Invited talk on advanced polymer membranes.

7th EuCheMs Chemistry Congress, Liverpool, 26-30 August 2018

Dr Qilei Song, Microporous polymer membranes for molecular separation and energy storage.

UK Redox Flow Battery Network (UK RFBN), 19th July 2018

Dr Qilei Song, Feasibility study of ion-Selective Microporous Polymer Membranes for Organic Redox Flow Batteries

Link: https://sites.google.com/view/ukrfbnetwork/workshops/workshop-jul-2018

UK Membrane ShowCase 2018, Manchester, 13-14th June, 2018

Dr Qilei Song, Designer Membranes

9-10th April 2018  UK MOF Symposium

Anqi Wang (PhD), Tony Houghton (PhD) and Dr Song  will attend the UK MOF symposium in University of Southampton. Anqi and Tony will present their research in polymer membranes and MOF composites for separation and energy storage applications. 

20-22th March 2018  UK Energy storage Conference

Rui Tan (PhD), Xiaoqun Zhou (Undergraduate) and Dr Song attended the UK Energy Storage Confefence (UKES 2018) and presented research in advanced membranes for redox flow batteries. 

1st Feb 2018 Postdoc position available

The group has been awarded one seed-funding grant funded by Energy Superstore and CAM-IES to develop redox flow batteries for energy storage. We are looking for one postdoc to join our group for 12 months to work on this exciting research project. The project will involve collaborations with partners at University of Cambridge, Imperial College, and University of Edinburgh, as well as partners in the Energy Superstore research hub and CAM-IES research centre.



For informal enquires, please email q.song@imperial.ac.uk for further information about this opportunity.

25th Jan, 2018

The group attended the dissemination event of Energy Storage Grand Challenge Projects: Energy Storage for Low Carbon Grids and Integrated, Market-fit and Affordable Grid-scale Energy Storage (IMAGES). 

Energy Storage

10 Jan 2018 - Visiting student 

The group welcomes Min Hu from Prof. Tongwen Xu's group at University of Science and Technology of China. Min is visiting the group to develop novel polymer electrolyte membranes for flow batteries and electrochemical processes. Welcome! 


19th September 2017 PhD students

The group welcomes the first cohort of PhD students! From left to right: Rui, Tony and Anqi. Look forward to working together to produce excellent research in the next few years.

PhD students

15th September 2017 MSc students completed

Congratulations to Anqi, Barbara, and Tianhe on finishing their MSc study and research projects in our lab. Anqi will stay in the group for a PhD, Barbara will move to EPFL for PhD research. Thanks for all the support for setting up the lab and I will miss the time working together at 10pm in the lab. Wish you all the best for your future!


10-13 July 2017 MC13 materials chemistry conference

The group attended the 13th International Conference on Materials Chemistry (MC13). Anqi Wang and Dewang Zeng gave poster presentations. The group also visited the Materials Innovation Factory and Cooper Group at University of Liverpool.  


MC13 2

7th July, 2017

Farewell drinks for Rongtan in Hyde Park. Rongtan is leaving us back to Peking University. We wish him all the best!Drinks

3rd July, 2017 Undergraduate researchers

Chemical Engineering undergraduate students joined our group! Left to Right: Haoran Xiong (IC Chem Eng), Hassan Azzan (IC Chem Eng), and Zifeng Song (Tsinghua Chem Eng).


Papers published

5th June, 2017   Two papers published today!

We just had two collaborative papers published online today. One paper on oriented 2D porous organic cage crystals was published in Angewandte Chemie, in collaboration with Prof. Andy Cooper in University of Liverpool. Check out the paper here

Another paper on highly permeable and selective microporous PIM-1/MOF composite membranes was published in Nature Energy, in collaboration with Prof. Easan Sivaniah at Kyoto University (my PhD advisor in Cambridge) and other institutions. 

Check out the news release from the department. 

26th June 2017 UK RFB Network

Dr Song attended the UK Redox Flow Battery Network launch event. https://sites.google.com/view/ukrfbnetwork/home

PhD Scholarships

31st May, 2017 Three PhD students starting soon!!!

Congratulations to Rui Tan from Peking University on award of a prestigious full PhD scholarship funded by the China Scholarship Council. Rui will join the group in October 2017 working on redox flow battery and solid state battery, under co-supervison of Dr Qilei Song and Prof. Nigel Brandon.

Congratulations to Anqi Wang on the offer of Department PhD scholarship! Anqi will stay working on synthesis of microporous polymer membranes and energy applications.

Congratulations to Anthony Houghton on the offer of a DTP PhD scholarship! Anthony will work on design and synthesis of functional microporous materials including MOFs.

Undergraduate Students Research Award

20th  April, 2017

Azzan Hassan, 2nd year UG student in the department, was offered the Faculty of Engineering UROP Award for an 8 week UROP summer placement. Zifeng Song, final year UG student in Department of Chemical Engineering at Tsinghua University, was awarded the Faculty of Engineering International  Research Opportunities Programme (IROP) award for 8 week summer research project. Look forward to working with you in July. 

4th  April, 2017

Rongtan Gao joined our group as a visiting student. Rongtan Gao is from the group of Prof. Feng Pan, School of Advanced Materials, Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School, China.  Rongtan is now visiting our group working on functional materials and redox flow batteries for energy storage applications. Welcome! 

27th-29th March 2017 

Dr Song attended the ChemEngDay UK 2017 conference and gave a talk on Functional Microporous Membranes for Energy and Environmental Applications. He also attended the UK Particle Technology Forum held by the University of Birmingham on behalf of IChemE Particle Technology Special Interest Group (PTSIG), on the 29th March, and gave a Keynote talk titled: Particle Technology: a personal journey towards interdisciplinary materials research. 

March 2017 - PhD studentships for home students

The Department of Chemical Engineering has available 5 fully-funded Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) Scholarships for outstanding PhD applicants qualifying as Home students to start in October 2017. 



March 2017

Group photo in March 2017, including co-supervised PhD students, MSc students, and collaborators. We are still looking for motivated and talented PhD students!

Group PhotoFrom left to right: Dr Qilei Song, Anqi Wang, Clemens Patzschke (PhD with Prof. Paul Fennell), Tianhe Zhang, Barbara Primera Darwich, Dewang Zeng (PhD), and Dr Liya Zheng (PDRA with Prof. Fennell). 

March 2017

Our lab in Bone building B326 has been refurbished into a brand new materials chemistry & energy research lab, where we work on materials synthesis and processing, membrane and battery fabrication, and performance testing. The other lab B221 is currently being refurbished as well. 



February 2017

Dr Song was awarded the IChemE Nicklin Medal for his outstanding contribution to developing the next-generation of microporous membrane materials.  Imperial News.  Deepest thanks go to supervisors, mentors, collaborators, colleagues, and the support of a number of labs and departments. 

January, 2017

Dr Song visited several leading universities in China, including the University of Science and Technlogy of China, Southeast University, Tianjin Univbersity, Nankai University, Beijing University of Chemical Technology, and Tsinghua University.


November, 2016

Barbara, Anqi, and Tianhe joined the group to work on their MSc research projects. Welcome!

Launch of the Barrer Centre, 10th October 2016

The Barrer Centre at Imperial was launched on the 10th October 2016, which aims to develop breakthrough materials for separation technologies for applications in more energy-efficient and environemntal-friendly separation processes in industry. Our group is a part of the Centre. 

BarrerlaunchWe were very pleased to have a range of attendees in our launch event, including  high-profile policy-makers, world-leading acadamics, industrialists and experts in global separations.  A keynote inaugural Barrer Lecture on “The Development of the Membrane Separation Industry” was delivered by Richard Baker, Founder and Principal Scientist at Membrane Technology and Research Inc, USA and Chair of the Barrer Centre. 

September 2016

Congratulations to Xiaoqi, Qiao, and Nan for successfully completing their MSc projects. Well done!!


August 2016

Dr Song started his new job as a Lecturer in Chemical Engineering in the Department. A new journey, very different challenges! 

June 2016

Nanofilm membranes reported in news by Materials Research Society (MRS). 

Nanofilm-based membranes boost molecular separations in organic systems


Image below shows the structure of porous polymer. Credit: Kim E. Jelfs, Department of Chemistry, Imperial College London

Structure of Polymer

10th May, 2016

Glovebox workstation installed! Time to start making batteries and research on energy conversion and storage. 


2nd May 2016

Our latest paper published in Nature Materials, reporting a novel molecular design approach to synthesis of ultrathin and microporous polymer membranes, using sterically contorted monomers, to achieve enhanced performance for solvent-based separations.

Maria Jimenez-Solomon+Qilei Song+, Kim Jelfs, Marta Munoz-Ibanez, Andrew Livingston*. Polymer nanofilms with enhanced microporosity by interfacial polymerisationNature Materials. 2016. Doi:10.1038/nmat4638. (+Contributed equally).

Researchers develop "designer" chemical separation membranes

December 2015

Our paper accepted in Advanced Materials.

Q. Song, S. Jiang, T. Hasell, M. Liu, S. Sun, A.K. Cheetham, E. Sivaniah, A.I. Cooper. Porous Organic Cage Thin Films and Molecular-Sieving Membranes.Advanced Materials. 2016, DOI: 10.1002/adma.201505688. Back Cover (Image credit: Adam Kewley). 


November 2015

Paper accepted in Journal of Materials Chemistry A.

Qilei Song, Shuai Cao, Robyn Pritchard, Hazim Qiblawey, Eugene Terentjev,   Anthony K. Cheetham and Easan Sivaniah.  Nanofiller-tuned microporous polymer molecular sieves for energy and environmental processesJournal of Materials Chemistry A. 2016. DOI: 10.1039/C5TA09060A


October 2015

 Dr Song gave a seminar on Functional Nanomaterials for Energy and Sustainability at the Energy Futures Lab on Friday 30th. Link

The group welcomes new members!

Arthie Nimalan and Ayshah Sawjani are final year undergraduate students working together on porous membranes for molecular separations, co-supervised by Prof. Livingston.

MSc students:

Qiao Zhang will be working on Polymer Membranes of Intrinsic Microporosity for Molecular Separations, co-supervised by Prof. Livingston.

Xiaoqi Li will be working on synthesis and electrochemical characterisation of functional nanomaterials for energy conversion and storage.

Nan Ding will be working on synthesis and applications of layered double hydroxides and derived nanostructured metal oxides, co-supervised by Dr Fennell.

September 2015

23rd September. Dr. Song gave a short talk at the department postdoc symposium

15th September. Congratulations to Horace KH Chien on successfully completing his MSc project. Horace did some nice work on synthesis of LDHs and mixed metal oxides for applications in chemical looping processes. 

August 2015

Dr Song was awarded a Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) Travel Grant for attending the 250th ACS National Meeting, held on 16-20 August 2015 in Boston, MA, USA. He gave two invited talks, one on 'Advanced Molecular Sieve Membranes' in the session of Porous Materials for Energy & Sustainability from Discovery to Application, and another on 'Nanostructured metal oxides for chemical looping processes' in the session of Chemical looping Innovation for Low-Carbon Energy

July 2015

Dr Song attended the 12th International Conference on Materials Chemistry (MC12) organised by the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), held on 20-23 July 2015, University of York, UK.

April 2015

8-9th April 2015. Dr. Song attended the ChemEngDayUK conference in Sheffield, organised by the IChemE. 

November 2014

Dr Song started his JRF fellowship from the 1st November 2014. A new start of his independent research career. He is also an academic visitor to the Cavendish Laboratory, and a visiting scholar at the Southeast University (China).