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Advanced photo- and thermo-electrochemical flow cell for energy conversion and storage

School of Engineering & Physical Sciences

Applications accepted all year round Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
Edinburgh United Kingdom Applied Chemistry Chemical Engineering Chemical Physics Nanotechnology Chemistry Engineering Materials Science Physics Physical Chemistry Thermodynamics

About the Project

The development of reliable renewable energy storage system is a key aspect for a sustainable carbon-neutral society. Solar rechargeable redox flow battery (SRFB) technology is being in the spotlight as a mean of simultaneously storing the solar energy into chemicals, which can be readily utilized to generate electricity via reversible reactions [1,2]. In recent years, intensive effort has gone into the embedding of photovoltaic (PV) or photoelectrochemical (PEC) device with redox flow batteries (RFB), and some recent reports made them promising candidates for renewable energy storage [3,4].

However, the plain fact is that there is that most studies overlook practical challenges arising from the inherent instability and degradation of the system under the light and heat. The proposed project aims for minimizing the thermal-loss under drastic temperature change by introducing thermo-electrochemical approach (theoretical and experimental). All tasks are underpinned by light absorption, charge separation, and redox catalysis under dynamic operating parameter variation (e.g., light, temperature and electrolyte flux).

Institute of Mechanical, Process and Energy Engineering (IMPEE) at Heriot-Watt University offer a PhD student position for a talented, and strongly motivated candidate who will contribute building a new setup with potential for above-described project. Applicants should have good written and oral communication skills (IELTS 6.5 with no category less than 6, if your first language is not English) and a good degree (or expect to obtain by the start date) in physics or related engineering disciplines (Mechanical, Material, Chemical engineering etc.). We are looking for candidates with a background in, or strong interest in at least one of the following areas:

• Charging/Discharging performance modelling (e.g., Python, MATLAB, Comsol, etc.)

• Electrochemical flow cell design and fabrication

• Photo- and electrochemical experiments and analysis

• Photovoltaics or PV-assisted energy conversion

To apply, please send your CV, academic transcripts*, and a cover letter explaining your motivation/interest in this project by 30 April 2021 (but open until filled) to Dr Dowon Bae (). Note that one reference letter will be asked if your application passes the first round review.

*Students currently enrolled in a Masters qualification who expect to graduate before starting a doctorate may apply, but must submit a separate letter (after the first round review) from their current University (or Institute) that predicts the standing of their expected qualification.

Funding Notes

We note that this project is available to UK/EU applicants only. The annual stipend and tuition fees will be fully covered. However, EU applicants should meet residency requirements set out by EPSRC (i.e., pre-settled status in UK). Please refer the following link for detail requirements for general PhD programme information:
View Website


[1] Wedege, K.; Bae, D.; Smith, W. A.; Mendes, A.; Bentien, A., J. Phys. Chem. C 2018, 122, 25729.
[2] Bae, D.; Faasse, G. M.; Smith, W. A., Sustain. Energy Fuels 2020, 4, 2650.
[3] Li, W.; Zheng, J.; Hu, B.; Fu, H. C.; Hu, M.; Veyssal, A.; Zhao, Y.; He, J. H.; Liu, T. L.; Ho-Baillie, A.; Jin, S., Nat. Mater. 2020, 19, 1326.
[4] Bae, D.; Kanellos, G.; Faasse, G. M.; Dražević, E.; Venugopal, A.; Smith, W. A., Commun. Mater. 2020, 1, 17.

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