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Enhancing the conductivity of the solid electrolyte Ba7Nb4MoO20 for application in intermediate temperature fuel cells

Project Description

Fuel cells convert chemical energy directly into electrical energy with high efficiency and low emission of pollutants. In a fuel cell the reaction between hydrogen and oxygen produces water and electricity and as such provides a clean alternative to fossil fuels. The solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) is highly efficient, stable, and operates over a wide temperature range (650 – 800 degrees C). Applications include auxiliary power units in cars and heat engine energy recovery devices. In order to reduce system costs it is highly desirable to find new materials which exhibit significant ionic conductivity at lower temperatures (< 650 degrees C).

We have recently reported Ba7Nb4MoO20 as a dual ion conductor with high proton and oxide ion conductivity at intermediate temperature (< 650 degrees C) 1. In this project the student will perform chemical doping studies to enhance the oxide and/or proton conductivity for application in an intermediate temperature ceramic fuel cell.

The materials will be synthesised via conventional solid-state chemistry techniques and analysed by powder X-ray and neutron diffraction, AC impedance, scanning electron microscopy and thermogravimetric analysis.
There will also be the opportunity to attend conferences and training courses.


• Apply for Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry
• State name of the lead supervisor as the Name of Proposed Supervisor
• State ‘Self-funded’ as Intended Source of Funding
• State the exact project title on the application form

When applying please ensure all required documents are attached:

• All degree certificates and transcripts (Undergraduate AND Postgraduate MSc-officially translated into English where necessary)
• Detailed CV

Informal inquiries can be made to Professor Abbie McLaughlin () with a copy of your curriculum vitae and cover letter. All general enquiries should be directed to the Postgraduate Research School ()

Funding Notes

This project is advertised in relation to the research areas of the discipline of Chemistry. The successful applicant will be expected to provide the funding for Tuition fees, living expenses and maintenance along with Additional Research Costs of £2,000 per annum. Details of the cost of study can be found by visiting View Website. THERE IS NO FUNDING ATTACHED TO THIS PROJECT.


1. S. Fop, K. S. McCombie, E. J. Wildman, J. M. S. Skakle, J. T. S. Irvine, P. A. Connor, C. Savaniu, C. Ritter and A. C. Mclaughlin, High oxide ion and proton conductivity in a disordered hexagonal perovskite, Nature Materials (DOI: 10.1038/s41563-020-0629-4).

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