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PhD Studentship: Degradation of the Lithium-ion Battery

University of Nottingham - School of Chemistry

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Nottingham
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: £14,600 per annum for 2017/18.
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 21st June 2018
Closes: 21st September 2018
Reference: SCI1829

Location: University Park

Supervised by Dr Lee Johnson

The Faraday Institution

The Faraday Institution is the UK’s independent institute for electrochemical energy storage science and technology, supporting research, training, and analysis. We bring together scientists and industry partners on research projects to reduce battery cost, weight, and volume; to improve performance and reliability; and to develop whole-life strategies from mining to recycling to second use. The Faraday Institution will deliver a comprehensive training programme via its partner universities encompassing PhD training and CPD (for industry and academia) across technical, commercial and transferrable skills. This will address the skills shortage for the planned expansion in the UK battery capability and will leverage the extensive training portfolio already delivered by the host institutes.

Battery Research at Nottingham

Our research focuses on understanding the chemistry that underpins advanced batteries and how this understanding can be used to unlock a new generation of energy storage technologies for electrification of the automotive sector. The target is to enable alternative, sustainable technologies that can improve or supersede the lithium-ion battery. Our approach to address these challenges combines materials chemistry and electrochemistry.

The Project:

The Aim is to understand the dynamic chemistry within the lithium-ion battery during cycling with specific focus on routes of failure and degradation. Lithium-ion battery technology has revolutionised energy storage and the modern world. Current demand is 70 GWh per annum and this market is expected to exceed 400 GWh per annum by 2025. While lithium-ion batteries can remain operational for many years, failure mechanisms and performance loss are poorly understood and unpredictable. The research activities of this PhD will be focussed on understanding the impact of ageing electrolyte and interphase formation on the life span and performance of the battery. A range of in situ characterisation methods will be applied to the battery to reveal its evolving chemistry during use.

The project will be performed in close collaboration with members of the Faraday Institution Degradation Fast Start Challenge led by Prof C. Grey (University of Cambridge). The successful applicant will develop expertise in electrochemistry, materials chemistry and device characterisation. They will acquire a knowledge of the challenges in the battery field and gain skills relevant to the industry. They will build lab scale cells, and through interaction with the Faraday Institution, gain the expertise needed to seek a career in the UK’s emerging battery industry.

Summary: UK/EU students - Tuition Fees paid, and full Stipend at the RCUK rate, which is £14,600 per annum for 2017/18. The scholarship length will be 3.5 years.

Entry Requirements: Starting September 2018, we require an enthusiastic graduate with a 1st class degree in materials science, chemistry, chemical engineering, physics or a relevant discipline, at Masters level, or an equivalent overseas degree (in exceptional circumstances a 2:1 degree can be considered).

Please email Dr Lee Johnson ( in the first instance.

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