Processing and characterisation of Ti-Fe alloys as hydrogen storage materials from New Zealand feedstocks

   Department of Chemistry

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  Dr Nigel Lucas  Applications accepted all year round  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Green hydrogen will become a pivotal vector to carry and store renewable energy in a future net-zero carbon world. Ti-Fe alloys demonstrate high hydrogen uptake at ambient conditions and are an attractive candidate material for stationary bulk hydrogen storage applications. Nevertheless, several key issues require further investigation, such as surface activation, cycle stability, impurity tolerance, and supply volume of the metallic feedstocks.

A PhD candidate will explore the production and processing of Ti-Fe alloys from New Zealand-sourced feedstocks using metallurgical and mechanochemical methods as part of collaborative research within the German-New Zealand Green Hydrogen alliance. The alloys prepared will be characterised by a range of methods (incl. XRD, SEM/EDS, ICP-MS, XRF, DSC), and their hydrogen storage capacity and kinetics studied using a custom ‘Sieverts apparatus’. Furthermore, the presence of common impurities within the Ti-Fe alloys will be systematically studied to better understand how locally-sourced feedstocks are likely to perform as hydrogen storage materials, including the effect of surface impurities on reactivity/diffusion characteristics.

Supervision and support for the project will be provided by staff at the University of Otago [A/Prof. Nigel Lucas] and University of Canterbury [A/Prof. Alex Yip], New Zealand, and the Institute of Hydrogen Technology, Helmholtz-Zentrum Hereon [Dr Claudio Pistidda], Germany. The candidate will be enrolled at the University of Otago, but it is expected that they will spend time at both the New Zealand and German host institutions over the course of the PhD studies.


The applicant needs a degree equivalent to the 4-year BSc(Honours) degree in New Zealand, with 1st class Honours, or an MSc or Postgraduate Diploma in Chemistry, Materials Science, Engineering, or equivalent. Practical experience with hydrogen materials, metallurgy, mechanochemistry and/or the characterisation techniques listed above will be advantageous. Māori and Pasifika students are particularly encouraged to apply. Candidates should satisfy the requirements for admission as a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Otago.

Total value and tenure of scholarship

The PhD scholarship includes tuition fees and a stipend of NZ$30,000 p.a. (tax-free) for three years. 

How to apply

To apply, please send your full CV, including academic record, research experience, and the names and contact details of two referees, to: Associate Professor Nigel Lucas with “Hydrogen storage materials PhD” in the subject line, or use the "Email Now" form below.

Chemistry (6) Engineering (12) Materials Science (24)

Funding Notes

Funded by Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE) Catalyst Fund Strategic Grant: New Zealand-Germany Green Hydrogen Research (Safe, low-cost, hydrogen storage materials from NZ resources).
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