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Hybrid devices comprising of solar panels and structural energy storage

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  • Full or part time
    Dr N Shirshova
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Interest in renewable energy as a research subject, despite significant number of publication, does not show any indication of decline. This is not surprising as use of renewable energy reduces the exposure of economies to fuel price volatility and help to reduce CO2 emission. One of the most studied areas of devices for renewable energy is solar cells, varying greatly in performance and materials used. Nowadays, solar panels are not a rare sight anymore and could be easily seen even in the rural areas of the UK. One of the points of concern which is usually mentioned in regards to the renewable energy is lack of continuity/reliability and as a result necessity of the efficient storage of the electrical energy.

Currently the support which solar panels are fixed on does not perform any additional role. However, substituting it for a structural energy storage device would allow not only support panels but also provide easy access to energy storage. This can be done by using multifunctional energy storage devices. Multifunctional materials and devices are fast growing research area as they allow for volume or/and weight savings. The aims if the project will to:
• Establish the level of performance for structural energy storage devices required to be suitable for hybrid devices.
• Develop and characterise hybrid devices containing structural energy storage device and photovolatics.
• Assess issues with manufacturing and connectivity in hybrid devices.
• Understand possible trade-offs in creating the hybrid devices.

The EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Renewable Energy Northeast Universities (ReNU) is a collaborative doctoral training programme run by the Universities of Northumbria, Newcastle and Durham. In addition to undertaking an individual scientific research project at one of the three partner Universities, doctoral candidates will engage with added value training opportunities, for example in business, innovation and internationalisation through a 4-year training programme that has been designed to maximise the benefits of a cohort approach to doctoral training. The start date is 1st October 2019.

For this project you must apply through the Durham University’s online postgraduate application system by creating an account. To do this please navigate to and select ‘Apply now’ followed by ‘Apply for postgraduate study.’ When completing your application, please ensure that you note that you are applying for the appropriate ReNU project by completing the application fields as follows:

Course details
• Select ‘yes’ to the question, ‘Have you been in contact with a potential supervisor?’
• Complete the ‘intended supervisor’s name’ with ReNU/Shirshova
• Complete Engineering as the Department

• Select ‘yes’ to the question, ‘Have you applied, or are you going to apply for a scholarship?
• Select ‘other’ from the drop-down list under, ‘Please indicate which scholarship you have applied for’
• Complete ‘Please enter the name of the Scholarship you have applied for or will be applying for’ with ReNU/Shirshova
Note that it is not necessary to include a research proposal as part of your application.

The application closing date is Friday 12th July and it is planned that interviews will take place in the two weeks following.

Applicants are normally expected to have one of:
• A minimum of an upper second class honours degree from a 4-year integrated Masters undergraduate course in Physics, Electronic Engineering, Chemistry, Materials Science or a related subject.
• A 3-year undergraduate Bachelors in one of the above disciplines plus a Masters degree and/or one year experience in a relevant industry.
We particularly encourage UK applications from those traditionally under-represented in STEM subjects, such as women and mature students.

Funding Notes

The studentship and covers tuition fees and an annual living allowance of £15,009 (at the 2019/20 Home/EU rate) and significant additional funding to cover research costs and local, national and international travel (conferences and exchanges). Please note that EU students must meet UKRI eligibility criteria ( and that studentships will not cover tuition fees for overseas fees status students. Note that up to 4 offers of a PhD place will be made for the 6 ReNU CDT projects advertised by Durham University.

How good is research at Durham University in General Engineering?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 34.00

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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