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Multiscale Diagnostics and Modelling of Novel High-Power Lithium-Ion Batteries

Queen's University Belfast - School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Belfast, Hybrid
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: UK studentships cover tuition fees and include a maintenance stipend of £18,622 per annum
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 2nd February 2024
Closes: 4th March 2024
Reference: MAE2024/25JL

Overview

Owing to its high energy density, long cycle life and cost effectiveness, lithium-ion battery (LIB) has been the leading electrochemical (electrical) energy storage device, and is playing an essential role in electric vehicles, consumer electronics and grid-scale energy storage. Despite the rapid advances of LIBs, many challenges remain in LIBs to meet a wide range of user demands. Today’s LIBs are still far from fulfilling the high-power demand of electric vehicles, where charging the batteries at a comparable speed to refueling combustion engine vehicles remains a burden to the consumer, hindering its mainstream adoption. To tackle this problem, the development of new battery materials and chemistries with high-power capability is an important approach.

Niobium-based materials, e.g., niobium oxides, can allow the electricity to be charged and discharged from ~10 mins to less than 1 min and are therefore promising anode materials for high-power LIBs and supercapacitors. This PhD project will explore the opportunity of using niobium-based lithium-ion batteries and establish comprehensive knowledge of this emerging battery technology from multiple scopes, including mechanical and chemical engineering, electrochemistry and material science.

Project details

The PhD in this project is expected to enjoy a multi-disciplinary research environment in battery energy storage and learn actively about multiscale diagnostics and multi-physics modelling with a number of key objectives:

  • To develop and carry out multiscale characterisation techniques (e.g., X-ray technologies, Raman spectroscopy, optical microscopy) to investigate the electrochemical, structural, morphological behaviours of niobium oxides during charging and discharging;
  • To develop multiscale (microscale to system) battery models for niobium-based lithium-ion batteries to diagnose their properties and characteristics;
  • To investigate the charge storage and degradation mechanisms of typical niobium oxides under extreme cycling conditions;
  • To develop physics-based and data-driven models to capture the experimental observations of niobium oxides in battery applications.

The successful candidate will be supervised by Dr. Jie Lin at School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Queen’s University Belfast, and be co-supervised by Prof. Rhodri Jervis from the Electrochemical Innovation Lab at University College London (UCL). There will be regular opportunities to visit UCL and conduct advanced synchrotron-based experiments at Diamond Light Source in Oxford.

Funding Information

A UK studentship is available to UK and Republic of Ireland (ROI) nationals, and to EU nationals with settled status in the UK, subject to meeting specific nationality and residency criteria. UK studentships - cover tuition fees and include a maintenance stipend of £18,622 per annum, together representing an investment in your education of more than £70,000.

Applications are also welcomed from self-funded students, or students who are willing to apply for other available sources of funding.

Requirements

We are particularly interested in students from an engineering, chemistry, or material science related discipline. Applicants with a good understanding of electrochemistry, thermodynamics, and heat and mass transfer are strongly encouraged to apply.

The minimum academic requirement for admission to a research degree programme is normally an Upper Second Class Honours degree from a UK or ROI HE provider, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University.

How to Apply

If you are interested in this project, please contact Dr. Jie Lin on j.lin@qub.ac.uk in the first instance. A formal application will also need to be submitted using our online application system.

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