University of Edinburgh Featured PhD Programmes
University of Southampton Featured PhD Programmes
University of Glasgow Featured PhD Programmes

Direct Ammonia Fuel Cells (DAFC); A Solution to Global Warming and Energy Crisis (Advert Reference: RDF21/EE/MCE/BAYATIMaryam)

Faculty of Engineering and Environment

About the Project

The depletion of energy resources and environmental pollution are urgent problems in contemporary society. Hydrogen fuel cells have been recognized as clean energy-converting devices due to their high efficiency and zero emissions, which makes them a promising technology to combat the above-mentioned global challenges. However, hydrogen is difficult and expensive to store in bulk and distribute.

Ammonia is a cost effective, commercially available with zero-carbon emission fuel and an energy vector which unlike hydrogen, all the infrastructure for its storage and distribution exist.

To date, the most effective catalyst for ammonia electro-oxidation (AEO) has been platinum which its cost and scarcity limits the commercialization of DAFCs.

The aim of this project

is on developing catalysts with low Pt loading. Recently, for the first time, our group has synthesised a high surface area with low-load of Pt composite which outperformed high surface area Pt/C catalyst for AEO[1].
The focus of the project will be on explore and synthesis of this novel class of transition metal carbide and nitride with noble metal composite based on the reported DFT calculations, for their application in AFC. The efficiency and specific energy density (energy per unit mass) of these fuel cells will be further increased by employing graphene aerogel material[2].

The work packages will include

mainly hydrothermal synthesis of composite catalysts and graphene aerogel, DAFCs simulations, material characterisation, and testing DAFC.

Key technologies used in research work packages are:

• Composite catalyst and graphene aerogel synthesis (Hydrothermal and etc.)
• Materials characterisation: Electrochemical testing (CV, LSV, Chronoamperometry), SEM, TEM, XPS, Profilometer, Ellipsometry
• Testing DAFCs

The principal supervisor for this project is Dr. Maryam Bayati.

Eligibility and How to Apply:

Please note eligibility requirement:
• Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
• Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
• Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see

Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. RDF21/EE/MCE/BAYATIMaryam) will not be considered.
Deadline for applications: 29 January 2021
Start Date: 1 October 2021
Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community.

Funding Notes

The studentship is available to Home and International (including EU) students, and includes a full stipend, paid for three years at RCUK rates (for 2020/21, this is £15,285 pa) and full tuition fees.


1. Bayati, M.; Liu, X.; Abellan, P.; Pocock, D.; Dixon, M.; Scott K “Synergistic Coupling of a Molybdenum Carbide Nanosphere with Pt Nanoparticles for Enhanced Ammonia Electro-Oxidation Activity in Alkaline Media” ACS Appl. Energy Mater. 2020, 3, 1, 843–851
2. Liu, X.; Xi, J.; Fang, B.; Xu , B. B.; Wang, Y.; Bayati, M.; Scott, K.; Gao C.; “A High‐Performance Direct Methanol Fuel Cell Technology Enabled by Mediating High‐Concentration Methanol through a Graphene Aerogel ” Small Methods, 2018, DOI: 10.1002/smtd.201800138.

Email Now

Insert previous message below for editing? 
You haven’t included a message. Providing a specific message means universities will take your enquiry more seriously and helps them provide the information you need.
Why not add a message here

The information you submit to Northumbria University will only be used by them or their data partners to deal with your enquiry, according to their privacy notice. For more information on how we use and store your data, please read our privacy statement.

* required field

Your enquiry has been emailed successfully

FindAPhD. Copyright 2005-2021
All rights reserved.