Water electrolysis is the leading process for “green” hydrogen production using electricity generated from renewable sources. This hydrogen can then be applied as a form of green energy to replace fossil fuels. However, poor energy efficiency and degradation of water electrolysers over their operating lives remain major drawbacks for electrolytic hydrogen production. In this research, you will address a key challenge in efficient water electrolysis in a Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) water electrolyser under intermittent power supply conditions. The electrode/catalyst surface dynamics will be investigated through experimental and mathematical modelling. This research will crucially inform strategies extending the lifespan of electrolyser components and their capability for continuous operation. The medium-term objective is to improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of electrolytic hydrogen production.
This PhD project will be conducted at the University of Auckland in collaboration with the University of Canterbury and GNS Science. The ideal candidate will have a degree in either Chemical Engineering or Materials Engineering, Mechanical Engineering or Chemistry Science. Experience in the fabrication and characterization of materials and in multiphysics modelling would be an advantage.
We are looking for a person with previous research experience, and excellent communication skills (written and oral), who works well in a team environment and who is organised and self-driven.
This project will involve a significant amount of experimental work in New Zealand, so students located in New Zealand or a visa holder might be prioritised, depending on the restrictions at the New Zealand border. Candidates should satisfy the requirements for admission as a PhD candidate at University of Auckland.
The research group
The student will be enrolled at the University of Auckland (the Top 1 University in New Zealand). The PhD candidate will be supervised by Dr Jingjing Liu (University of Auckland), Associate Professor Meng Wai Woo (University of Auckland), Dr John Kennedy (GNS Science). This project will also be advised by Professor James Metson (the University of Auckland), and Professor Aaron Marshall (University of Canterbury).
Our research group is also leading a few research projects related to electrocatalytic materials design and development for Green Hydrogen production, storage and utilisation funded by Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE). You will be part of large Hydrogen research team.
Join us! You will experience the most inspiring collaboration domestically and internationally on green hydrogen technology!
Total value and tenure of scholarship
This project is funded by a prestigious research grant – Marsden Fast Start from New Zealand Royal Society.
NZD$35,000 per annum (not taxed), for three (3) years. Project starts immediately when the student is available.
How to apply
To apply, please send your academic record (or academic transcript) and your CV including two referees to Dr Jingjing Liu ([Email Address Removed]) with “Water electrolysis PhD” in the subject line.