PhD studentship: Development of the Sodium-ion battery
This project aims to understand the dynamic chemistry within the sodium-ion battery and to use this knowledge to extend its cycle life. Lithium-ion battery technology has revolutionised energy storage and the modern world. Current demand is 70 GWh per annum and this market is expected to exceed 400 GWh per annum by 2025. This industry relies entirely on supplies of the strategically important metal, lithium. Diversification is essential and batteries based on abundant sodium (Na ~ 2.6 % vs. Li ~ 0.005 % in the Earth’s crust) must be developed. The sodium-ion battery will provide high performance alternatives to lithium-ion batteries, based on inexpensive, sustainable, and widely available sodium feedstocks.
Current state-of-the-art sodium-ion batteries rapidly lose energy over the first 500 charge and discharge cycles, making them unsuitable for commercialisation. The research activities of this PhD will be focussed on understanding the synergy between battery components (electrolyte, additives, electrodes etc.) and how each influence performance and decomposition of the battery. A range of in situ characterisation methods will be applied to the battery to reveal its evolving chemistry during use. Post-mortem characterisation of scaled up sodium-ion batteries will be performed, thus linking lab results to commercially relevant devices. The successful applicant will develop expertise in electrochemistry, materials chemistry and device characterisation. They will acquire a knowledge of the challenges in the battery field and gain skills relevant to the industry.
Summary: UK/EU students - Tuition Fees paid, and full Stipend at the RCUK rate, which is £14,600 per annum for 2017/18.
Entry Requirements: Starting September 2019, we require an enthusiastic graduate with a 1st class degree at Masters level in materials science, chemistry, chemical engineering, physics or a relevant discipline, or an equivalent overseas degree (in exceptional circumstances a 2:1 degree can be considered).
To apply, please email Dr Lee Johnson ([Email Address Removed]).