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Novel nanoporous composites for sustainable energy applications

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  • Full or part time
    Prof Tim Mays
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

The Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies (CSCT) at the University of Bath has launched a joint PhD programme with Monash University, Australia.

This project is one of a number that are in competition for up to four funded studentships. More details are available here:

Home institution: Bath University
Supervisor at Bath: Prof Tim Mays (lead)
Supervisor at Monash: Dr Parama Banerjee


Mays, Burrows and Bowen have collaborated on successful, multi-disciplinary research projects at Bath to develop nanoporous composites comprising polymer matrices (e. g., polymers of intrinsic microporosity) that contain high surface area particulate fillers, such as metal-organic frameworks and activated carbons. The original idea was to develop high-surface area, formable monoliths for hydrogen storage in sustainable energy applications, such as low-carbon fuel cell vehicles, which are easier and safer to handle than powered or granular materials. The work produced robust composite films with high storage capacities.
Recent, proof-of-concept results from an MRes project in the Centre for Doctoral Training in Sustainable Chemical Technologies (supervised by Mays, Burrows and Bowen) used more sophisticated forming methods, including freeze casting and additive manufacturing, to produce new and interesting shapes (such as cylinders ~cm in diameter and a few cm long) which retained high surface areas. We would like to follow up this exciting development in this PhD project by refining and scaling up the forming methods and covering a wider range of matrices and fillers. Via a new collaboration with Banerjee at Monash, we would also like to explore the electrochemical properties of these nanoporous monoliths.
The proposed project, which is an ideal fit to the remit of CSCT, would have the following structure:
Months 1-12: 12 months research at Bath to further develop the composition and forming of the high surface area, nanoporous monoliths. The target application will be hydrogen storage.
Months 13-30: 18 months research at Monash to characterise the electrochemical properties of the monoliths for potential use as electrodes in batteries and supercapacitors for sustainable energy storage. Some early testing will be carried out on samples sent from Bath.
Months 31-42: 12 months research at Bath to study scale-up processing of the monoliths and proof-of concept design for selected sustainable energy applications.
The strong, sustained and relevant publication, dissemination and supervision track records of the research team members bode well for significant project outputs. These will range from fundamental science studies, e. g., analysis of interfaces in the composites, to engineering design. There will also be many skills training opportunities for the PhD student at both institutions. If the project is funded, industrial partners will be approached in the UK and Australia to be involved in the research and advise on future directions.

Application process

We invite applications from Science and Engineering graduates who have, or expect to obtain, a first or upper second class degree and have a strong interest in Sustainable & Circular Technologies.

You MUST express interest for three projects in order of preference – you can see all projects here: . Please submit your application at the Home institution of your preferred project (‘Home’ institution details can be found in the project summary). However, please note that you are applying for a joint PhD programme and applications will be processed as such.

University of Bath

Please submit your application through the following link:
Please make sure to mention in the “finance” section of your application that you are applying for funding through the joint Bath/Monash PhD programme for your specified projects.
In the “research interests” section of your application, please name the three projects you are interested in and rank them in order of preference. Please also include the names of the Bath lead supervisors.

Monash University

Expressions of interest (EoI) can be lodged through The EoI should provide the following information:
CV including details of citizenship, your Official Academic Transcripts, key to grades/grading scale of your transcripts, evidence of English language proficiency (IELTS or TOEFL, for full requirements see:, and two referees and contact details (optional). You must provide a link to these documents in Section 8 using Google Drive (Instructions in Section 8).

Funding Notes

Bath Monash PhD studentships include tuition fee sponsorship and a living allowance (stipend) for the course duration (up to 42 months maximum). Note, however, that studentships for Bath-based projects will provide cover for UK/EU tuition fees ONLY. Non-Australian nationals studying in Australia will be required to pay their own Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC).

Additional and suitably qualified applicants who can access a scholarship/studentship from other sources will be also considered.

How good is research at University of Bath in Chemistry?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 33.10

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

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