PhD Studentship: Sodium-ion Capacitors for High Power Energy Storage

Coventry, Melbourne – Australia

Global efforts to mitigate and limit the impact of climate change and to move to an environmentally sustainable future necessitate the development of new and improved energy storage technologies. Hybrid supercapacitors are novel, promising devices which strive to combine attractive features of both batteries (energy density) and supercapacitor (high rate/power performance). Much work has been done on developing the Li ion capacitor but new sodium- based systems could offer advantages in cost and safety, whilst maintaining other features.

This project has the aim of developing carbon and tiatnate materials for use in new and novel sodium ion capacitors, moving from the small lab scale through to full prototype devices. Sodium titanates show much potential as electrodes, but are generally hampered by low electronic conductivity. The project will look to address this through materials synthesis considerations such as nanostructuring and doping with transition metal elements, and also through the development of hierarchical particle structures incorporating frameworks such as carbon nanotubes and graphene. The project offers a unique opportunity to gain a deep understanding across all aspects of device development, from fundamental materials synthesis, characterisation and electrochemistry through to prototype development and manufacture using the full capabilities of Coventry University’s new Cell Prototyping laboratory.

This project is offered as part of a collaborative cotutelle program between Coventry and Deakin University (Australia) and the successful candidate will spend 1 year of study at Deakin University and will graduate with a jointly supervised doctoral degree from each institution.

This project and scholarship are offered as part of a collaborative doctoral cotutelle program with Deakin University, Australia. The successful candidate will be jointly supervised by a team of leading researchers from Coventry University and Deakin University and will graduate with a jointly supervised doctoral degree from each institution. The program is for a duration of 3.5 years and it is anticipated that the PhD candidate will spend at least 1 year during the program at Deakin University, with the remainder of the program based at Coventry University.

The PhD scholar will have access to the world class research facilities of both universities and work under joint supervision of Dr Alexander Roberts and Dr Robert Kerr.

Coventry University has built a leading energy storage research program that is intimately engaged with both lithium and sodium-ion battery industry partners in the EU and UK. Pilot-scale electrode production facilities along with sodium-ion battery expertise and knowledge of commercial electrode materials will see that this project brings together electrode and electrolyte systems that are at the leading edge of research and industry performance targets.

Deakin University has an extensive history of developing new ionic electrolytes based on ionic liquids, solids, and polymers for both lithium and sodium chemistries. Recent promising cell performances using hybrid organic-ionic solvents and their characterisation through NMR spectroscopy has opened the door to drastically improve the rate capability of ionic solvent-based electrolytes through considered materials design and understanding of the molecular interactions.

Please apply here.