The conversion of carbon dioxide to useful products is essential not only on Earth for reaching net zero targets, but also for space exploration and future planet colonisation. By using membranes, carbon dioxide can be converted to fuels or chemical useful on Earth, while on carbon dioxide rich planets such as Mars, it can produce pure oxygen to sustain life, as shown through the 'MOXIE' system employed by NASA recently (https://tinyurl.com/2tdc2xyr). However, producing membranes that can carry out such conversion of carbon dioxide efficiently remains a challenge to their widespread application. Recently, our group has developed a nano-engineering concept potentially enabling dramatic gains in materials conductivity and catalytic activity - two essential properties for realising high performance membranes ([https://doi.org/10.1002/anie.201915140] (https://doi.org/10.1002/anie.201915140)). The concept involves the controlled growth of nanoparticles within materials, at nanoscale proximity of each other. Our recent results indicate that nanoparticles distort the lattice of the host material, producing ‘highways’ of order-of-magnitude increase in conductivity, while surface particles are highly active, degradation-resistant catalytic centres.
This PhD project aims to integrate these new materials into advanced membranes for carbon dioxide conversion to various products including fuels and oxygen for a range of applications. The project is thus highly multidisciplinary in scope, employing different structural and chemical characterisation methods, manufacturing and application testing procedures, and provide the candidate the opportunity to interact with world leading expert collaborators and institutions in the respective fields. This project builds on the ongoing multidisciplinary collaborative project between Strathclyde, TU Braunschweig and the National Manufacturing Institute of Scotland, which seeks to quantify the impact of integrating these materials from device-level to grid-level (https://tinyurl.com/2cpva4vf).
In addition to undertaking cutting edge research, students are also registered for the Postgraduate Certificate in Researcher Development (PGCert), which is a supplementary qualification that develops a student’s skills, networks and career prospects.
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