PhD in Next Generation Battery Characterisation


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  Prof Louis Piper  Applications accepted all year round  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Lithium-ion battery technology will continue to dominate the electric vehicle (EV) industry in the next decade. The development of next-generation batteries for EV applications is extremely challenging since they require more stringent requirements than for portable applications i.e. 1000 cycles (with operation within -30 to 52 C) and costs lower than $100 per KWh. Over the past decade there has been tremendous investment in battery manufacturing capacity (reducing production costs) and efforts to replace cobalt with nickel that together have significantly reduced costs and improved energy density. However, current lithium-ion battery chemistry at the cell level is not able to reach tomorrow’s energy storage requirements for EVs without incorporating lithium metal anodes and improving high voltage operation. From a materials perspective that means developing scalable material solutions to increase the energy density of state-of-art cathodes and electrolytes while suppressing degradation mechanisms. Key to this development is the critical role of the buried electrode-electrolyte interface to passivate oxygen loss, metal dissolution and dendrite formation in real format batteries.

The Energy Innovation Centre at WMG, Warwick University is a national facility for battery research across the R&D process from materials and electrochemistry through to application integration and recycling / re-use. Our facilities support test, development and scale up of new battery chemistries from concept through to full proven traction batteries, produced in sufficient quantities for detailed industrial evaluation in target applications. We have recently invested in new processing methods for next generation battery manufacturing along with advanced forensic techniques capable of studying the electrochemical and degradation mechanisms within real-world battery formats (i.e. above coin cell). This project will perform cutting-edge fundamental electrochemistry & materials science of state-of-art batteries manufactured at WMG. These activities will include the development and application of novel in-house instruments for determining the state of health of electrodes and electrolytes during their cycling under stressed conditions. Activities will include performing studies at National Facilities, such as Diamond Light Source, and will focus on determining design rules for interfacial engineering (coatings, additives) for improving energy density, high voltage operation and capacity retention. The project is expected to focus on pivoting towards solid state batteries with lithium-excess cathode and lithium metal anodes.

This 3.5-year fully funded PhD project will be based in the Electrochemical Materials division at WMG, Warwick University as part of the EPSRC Doctoral Training Partnership. It will be supervised by Professors Louis Piper and Melanie Loveridge. The project is expected to involve collaborations with academic and industrial partners and the PhD candidate will work within a multi-disciplinary team of experts. Of particular interested is the development of instrumented cells for operando electrochemical and x-ray characterisation to provide precise information regarding the underlying reactions during operations. Applicants should have a top-level degree in Chemistry, Physics, Materials or related subject. Experience with lithium-ion battery characterisation and testing is desirable but not essential. To discuss the project informally, please contact Professor Piper email: [Email Address Removed]

Prospective candidates are expected to have a minimum 2.1 undergraduate (BEng, MEng, BSc, MSci) and/or postgraduate masters’ qualification (MSc) with 65% or above.

Applicants should have a top-level degree in Chemistry, Physics, Materials or related subject. Experience with lithium-ion battery characterisation and testing is desirable but not essential.

The successful candidate will require a good knowledge of computer programming, ideally with experience of transport modelling software.

Funding Notes

Standard Research Council Maintenance Award of £15,285 for 3.5 years. Funding is available for UK nationals only.
To be eligible for this project the successful applicant should have indefinite leave to remain in the UK and have been ordinarily resident here for 3 years prior to the project start-date, apart from occasional or temporary absences. Additional details of these criteria are available on the EPSRC website.
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