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PhD Studentship - Development of Novel Nanomaterials for Electrochemical Hydrogen Production

Manchester Metropolitan University

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Manchester
Funding for: UK Students
Funding amount: £16,062
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 22nd September 2022
Closes: 21st October 2022

Project contact: Dr. Laurie King (l.king@mmu.ac.uk)

Funding info: Fully-funded full-time PhD. Home fees equivalent plus stipend paid (2022/23 rate £16,062).

Eligibility: Funding is for home fees only

Key dates: Deadline 21st October 2022, January 2023 start

Project summary

Undertake cutting edge research to contribute to CO2 reductions

A drastic expansion in green hydrogen production is one pathway to eliminating carbon dioxide emissions. One such device for green hydrogen production is a water electrolyser. Electrolysers split water into hydrogen and oxygen using electricity, and are expected to play a critical role in the synthesis of carbon-free hydrogen. However, commercial proton exchange membrane electrolysers utilise precious metal catalysts such as iridium which is both scarce and expensive. 

During this 3-year PhD we will synthesise and characterise nanostructured catalysts for electrochemical water splitting reactions. Specifically, the project will focus on developing catalyst materials with a reduced iridium and ruthenium content compared to commercial catalysts. Throughout the project, we will develop novel synthetic methods, conduct electrochemical tests and utilise numerous material characterisation techniques (such as x-ray diffraction, electron microscopy, x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, using both in-house and synchrotron-based facilities). This new project will be highly collaborative and interactive activity within our recently established research group, and you will work alongside other PhD students and postdoctoral researchers within the Manchester Fuel Cell Innovation Centre. The project will also provide the candidate with many opportunities to collaborate with our industrial and academic project partners (University of Manchester and University College London). The project will be jointly supervised by Dr Laurie King and Dr Yagya Regmi

Aims and objectives

The primary objective of the project is to design and characterise highly active catalysts for water electrolyser technologies. Specifically, we will investigate strategies to develop catalysts with reduced iridium content compared to state-of-the-art industrial water electrolyser catalysts. This will require development of synthetic methods, including wet chemical methods, as well as employing a wide range of electrochemical and materials characterisation techniques to develop fundamental understanding of electrocatalyst performance. We will characterise the catalysts in both lab-scale (3-electrode, rotating disk electrode) as well as commercially relevant (2-electrode, membrane electrode assembly) configuration.

For more information visit www.mmu.ac.uk/research/research-study/scholarships#ai-71100-1

Project reference: SciEng-LK-2022-nanomaterials

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