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Energy dense supercapacitors for electric vehicles

   Centre for Doctoral Training in Sustainable Electric Propulsion

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  Dr Shayan Seyedin, Prof Volker Pickert  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

This PhD project is part of the CDT in Sustainable Electric Propulsion. The successful PhD student will be co-supervised by academics from within the Electrical Power Research Group at Newcastle University. The student will form part of Cohort 5 and commence in September 2023.

The expected 20 times increase in global electric car sales from 3 million units in 2020 to 56 million units by 2030 suggests an urgent need for high-performance, lightweight, safe, durable, green, and easily manufacturable energy storage systems. Supercapacitors have emerged as new types of energy storage systems that offer advantages such as safety, long cycle life, low cost, and high power density compared to secondary (i.e., rechargeable) batteries and have already been tested for low-range electric vehicles (EVs) such as city buses and trams. They work like rechargeable batteries used in EVs and many portable devices but unlike batteries, they do not rely on chemical reactions to store charges. However, the current supercapacitor devices in the market are typically made using activated carbon, which does not offer high energy density, thus limiting the performance and range for applications in EVs.

This project aims to develop novel supercapacitor devices with high energy density by using a new family of atomically thin materials called “MXenes”. MXenes offer up to ten times higher energy storage performance than activated carbon. By using MXenes in novel device designs (e.g., asymmetric configuration), this project is expected to achieve supercapacitors that offer high energy densities comparable to batteries, making them attractive energy storage solutions for a wide range of EVs.

The development of high-performance energy storage devices that are suitable for EVs can reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and help achieve a more sustainable and cleaner solution for our future energy needs.

During your PhD journey, you will work with a wide range of advanced materials including MXenes and gain practical skills that will enable you to drive forward innovation in designing the next-generation energy storage systems using the 21st century materials. You will join a close-knit research team of Digital Materials Manufacturing at Newcastle University (UK) and will be guided throughout your project.

If you are passionate about making new discoveries in high-performance energy storage systems for EVs, we invite you to apply for this exciting PhD programme. Please contact Dr Shayan Seyedin by email ([Email Address Removed]) if you wish to discuss the project and the application process.

How to apply

You should complete an application by submitting the following mandatory documents via Newcastle University portal. You must ensure that you include the title of the project and reference number quoted above in the project title field in the covering letter: 

  • CV 
  • Covering letter (including title of project and reference number)
  • Degree transcripts and certificates
  • If English is not your first language, a copy of your English language qualifications

Please ‘Create a new account’ on the postgraduate application system. Enter the programme code as 8206F, select ‘PhD Power Electronics for Sustainable Electric Propulsion' as the programme of study and PESEP23 as the studentship code. In the covering letter please quote reference code PESEP23 and state how your interests and experience relate to the CDT.

Eligibility criteria

Available to Home UK and international students for a PhD at Newcastle University.

Applicants should have at least a 2:1 Bachelor level degree in an Engineering or Science discipline

About the CDT 

The overall vision of the CDT is the creation of a new generation of UK specialists driving the electric revolution in the transport sector. As this sector is reliant on a reliable supply of low carbon electricity, development of wave energy is seen as a potentially important part of this sector. 

We aim to create a new school of thinking amongst engineers and scientists, capable of leading the transformation from fossil fuel transport to sustainable and environmentally friendly electric transport. 

Our partners 

A collaboration between two of the UK's largest and most forward-thinking research groups in electric propulsion: the Electrical Power Group at Newcastle University and the Power Electronics, Machines and Control Research Group at the University of Nottingham

The CDT is supported by over 30 industrial and network partners to deliver unprecedented high-quality research and comprehensive training. 


We have developed a radical new training programme that will equip our students with a new school of thinking for solving problems to ensure maximum research impact. 

Highlights of the training programme include: 

  • Fusion-Training-Units - a revolutionary new training method combining technical knowledge with professional skills. 
  • Supervisor-on-Demand scheme - students will get support from their main academic and industrial supervisor and also from a pool of experts throughout training and research. 
  • A large choice of taught modules and laboratories - subjects in engineering, science, business tailored to students' needs. 

Funding Notes

This project is a funded studentship for 4 years in total and will provide UK tuition fees and maintenance. A budget for Travel and Consumables for the PhD project is also available to the student.
Please refer to the CDT website for further information on mandatory documents required as part of the application process.
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