PhD Studentship: Solving Fuel Cell Degradation Issues to Achieve High Efficiency Combined Heat and Power Generation

Imperial College London

2017_12: Solving fuel cell degradation issues to achieve high efficiency combined heat and power generation

Dr Samuel J Cooper ( & Dr Ainara Aguadero (

Dyson School of Design Engineering and Department of Materials, Duration: 4 Years

Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFCs) are a next generation low carbon energy technology and one of the world’s leading SOFC companies are the UK based Ceres Power Ltd. The aim of this project is to develop a novel experimental analysis technique to better understand what happens at the interfaces between oxide conducting ceramics. This concept is crucial to the development of a host of exciting technologies and is of particular interest to Ceres to improve their ability to predict cell lifetime.

Students will be required to perform experiments and use simulations to model the results; however, all of the required skills can be learnt during the course of study. Imperial is currently a world centre of excellence for the technique on which the novel approach will be based and hosts cutting edge equipment and expertise. You should have 2.1 in Physical Sciences including Materials, Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics.

Funding source for the studentship is from the UK National Productivity Investment Fund, through NERC with a contribution from Ceres Power Ltd.

The fundamental concept is to expose multi-layered samples to isotopically enriched oxygen gas and then use an ion imaging technique to observe how the isotopes moved through the sample (see figure). By fitting the results with a simple simulation, it should be possible to measure blocking effects caused by the interface between the layers for the first time! Ceres will be able to provide samples with a variety of operational histories, enabling us to build a picture of the relationship between usage and degradation. The student will also develop a working relationship with Ceres, including potential lab
placements and research presentations.

The studentship includes fees and a stipend of £16,553 for suitable candidates who are eligible as UK home students for the duration of 48 months.

To apply, visit: or contact for more information.

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