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Clean and cheap lithium production using electrochemistry


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  Dr Nuria Garcia-Araez  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Supervisory Team:   Nuria Garcia-Araez, Philip Bartlett

 Project description

The boom in the global lithium battery market cannot be sustained with current methods of lithium production, which can only be applied in limited locations in the world and have a significant carbon impact. Therefore, Cornish Lithium ( is pioneering the sustainable production of lithium from geothermal waters in Cornwall (UK), with the purpose of securing the supply of materials for the manufacture of batteries for electric vehicles. However, producing lithium at a competitive cost and with minimal impact to the environment is a big challenge, and in this project we will investigate new electrochemical approaches to achieve this.

Building on our experience on electrochemical lithium production (ACS Sustainable Chem. Eng. 2020, 8, 16, 6243; ChemSusChem 2021 DOI: 10.1002/cssc.202102182) and materials’ innovation (Science 1997, 278, 838; J. Mater. Chem. A, 2017, 5, 2251), we will exploit the selectivity of battery materials towards lithium to preferentially extract lithium ions from lithium resources (e.g. geothermal waters) that contain other ions (e.g. sodium) in vast excess. Protective coatings and novel nanostructured materials will be developed to achieve the long-term stability required for commercial applications, and novel cell designs and electrochemical approaches will be developed to take advantage of the thermal energy of geothermal waters to accelerate the reactions. The project will culminate with the demonstration of the new technology at mini-pilot scale at Cornish Lithium facilities.

 Entry Requirements

A very good undergraduate degree (at least a UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent) in chemistry or allied subjects/relevant disciplines.

Closing date: Applications will be considered in the order that they are received, and the position will be considered filled when a suitable candidate has been identified.

Funding: For UK students, Tuition Fees and a stipend of £15,609 tax-free per annum for up to 3.5 years.

How To Apply

Applications should be made online. Select programme type (Research), 2022/23, Faculty of Physical Sciences and Engineering, next page select “PhD Chemistry (Full time)”. In Section 2 of the application form you should insert the name of the supervisor Nuria Garcia-Araez

Applications should include:

Curriculum Vitae

Two reference letters

Apply online:

For further information about the project, please contact Nuria Garcia Araez: [Email Address Removed]. For general queries about the application process, please contact: [Email Address Removed]

The School of Chemistry. is committed to promoting equality, diversity inclusivity as demonstrated by our Athena SWAN award. We welcome all applicants regardless of their gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation or age, and will give full consideration to applicants seeking flexible working patterns and those who have taken a career break. The University has a generous maternity policy, onsite childcare facilities, and offers a range of benefits to help ensure employees’ well-being and work-life balance. The University of Southampton is committed to sustainability and has been awarded the Platinum EcoAward.

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