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Advanced electrocatalytic electrodes for redox flow batteries

   Chemical and Process Engineering

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  Dr Aaron Marshall  Applications accepted all year round  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Carbon felt is widely used as the electrode material in redox flow batteries (RFB). While standard carbon felt has many useful properties, it can have relatively poor electrochemical activity towards the charge/discharge reactions which decrease the performance of the RFB. It is proposed that superior electrodes can be developed by tailoring the surface chemistry of the carbon felt to increase the rates of the RFB reactions. This hypothesis is based on a wide range of literature indicating that surface functionalisation influences the behaviour of redox reactions on carbon electrodes. Despite this evidence, there are very few reports of using this approach in RFB systems. Our functionalisation approach will use a combination of chemical, electrochemical and thermal methods. Electrodes will be characterised by cyclic voltammetry, electrochemical impedance spectroscopy, electron microscopy and synchrotron-based x-ray methods. While this project is largely experimental there are opportunities to use computational methods (DFT, micro-kinetic, CFD) to help understand RFB performance.

Project Objectives

  1. Develop methods to coat porous electrode substrates with catalytic materials
  2. Analyse inherent electrocatalytic activity by accounting for mass transport and kinetic effects
  3. Measure performance of electrodes in single cell and bench-scale flow battery stacks

Student Eligibility / Requirements

Students should have either a 1st class honors degree in chemical engineering, chemistry or physics. Students must have IELTS score > 7 or equivalent.

Ideally the candidate will have a background in especially in the specific areas of electrochemistry, catalysis or materials science. Experience using methods such as electron microscopy, x-ray diffraction, cyclic voltammetry and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy or numerical modelling will be a key advantage.

Please send project inquiries to Professor Aaron Marshall ([Email Address Removed])

Funding Notes

A stipend of $35,000 NZD/year + fees is available for 3 years
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