PhD Studentship: Structured Perovskite Composite Material for Thermal-Electro Energy Conversion System

University of Birmingham - School of Chemical Engineering

Supervisor details

Lead Academic Supervisor: Dr Hui Cao
2nd Academic Supervisor Prof. Yulong Ding 

Project Brief

This PhD project aims to develop a novel composite material with porous structure to convert thermal energy into electro-chemical energy (stored in battery).

With the global population swelling and industrialisation on the rise in developing nations, our demand for energy has reached unprecedented level. Electricity from fossil fuel energy domains more than 50% of the market even it raises serious environmental concerns and endures low efficiency. Controversially, huge amount of electricity generated by renewable energy cannot be used by consumers due to its variability and the high costs to compensate that. A revolutionary step is to develop a highly efficient integrated system combining electrochemical storage with thermal energy storage (TES), whilst different source of heat can be store in TES as thermal energy and convert to electricity in demand.

The investigated hybrid system comprises TES modules and a thermal-electro converter (TEC). TES modules store heat at different temperatures. The heat can be from different sources including renewables (solar, wind, tidal and biomass etc), clean fossil fuels, industrial waste heat, and heat generated from off-peak electricity either directly or via heat pumps. TES modules provide heat for TEC which thermally charge batteries using perovskite material through chemical looping. Batteries generate electricity and provide to end user.

The primary objective of the PhD project is to develop structured perovskite composite materials for the thermal charge unit in the TEC. The PhD project will address different levels of scientific and technological challenges of such a novel energy conversion form. Phase change materials will be implemented to improve thermal efficiency. Porous structure will be investigated for enhancing chemical reaction rate and material lifetime after thermal/chemical cycling. Experiment will be carried out to formulate the material. A series of parameters will be assessed such as surface energy of individual material, doping material effect on converting rate, chemical compatibility between materials, pore size of the developed composite, and particle flowability if the thermal charge unit is designed as a packed-bed reactor.

To undertake this research, a motivated candidate is required with a first class degree or upper second or a combination of qualification and professional experience equivalent to that level, in materials science & engineering, energy and power engineering, chemical engineering or other related science and engineering disciplines. Candidate with some knowledge and research experience in materials or phase change materials will be preferred.

The PhD student will be hosted between Birmingham Centre for Energy Storage (BCES) and Centre for Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Research (CFCHR). BCES has developed worldwide reputation on phase change materials for thermal energy storage and the related devices and systems. It brings together research expertise from across the University. CFCHR is nationally and internationally recognised for its expertise in fuel cell technologies. The two centres possess abundant expertise and state-of-the-art equipment/facilities for materials, energy, processes and system research. It will provide an excellent environment for hosting the PhD student. 

Contact details for enquires

Full name: Hui Cao
Email: h.cao@bham.ac.uk
Telephone: 0121 4145080

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Type / Role:

PhD

Location(s):

Midlands of England