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Sustainable carbon materials for electrochemical energy storage devices (MELENDI-ESPINASU19SF)

Project Description

Applications are invited to the Engineering Division at the School of Mathematics, UEA, for a PhD in the field of biomass-derived carbon materials for electrochemical energy storage devices

Nowadays the generation of electrical energy mainly depends on fossil fuels, which not only cause several environmental problems, but also fluctuations between supply and demand in the distribution network. In this context alternative sources of clean energy must be developed using energy in a more efficient way and replacing their discontinuous nature. Moreover, the technological advances in the field of consumer electronics and the entry into the market of hybrid and electric vehicles have increased the interest on the development of energy storage systems able to cope with these new demands.

In this context, different electrochemical devices, such as supercapacitors, batteries and hybrid systems appear as the most promising ones. Most of them use carbon materials as electrodes, being the activated carbons (ACs) the most commonly used. Nonetheless graphene-related materials (Gs) have emerged as promising electrodes either by itself or combined with ACs in composites [1, 2, 3].

The methods of synthesis of these carbon materials starting from coal, petroleum or lignocellulosic resources can be found in the literature, being those based on fossil fuels the most widely described. Considering the drawbacks of these fossil fuels, biomass represents a green, abundant and alternative carbon source. In this context, the use of biomass wastes to produce carbon materials not only attends to solve their conversion but also alleviates the burden on strained energy resources.

The aim of this PhD focuses on the use of different biomass wastes to produce mainly ACs and graphene materials for their use as active electrode materials not only in supercapacitors and batteries (maybe redox flow batteries) but also to improve the design of hybrid systems (capacitor/battery) in order to achieve devices with high power densities and enhanced energy density values.

Applicants should hold or be completing an undergraduate honours degree with a 1st or a 2.1 classification.
Degrees in Material Science, Engineering, Chemistry and other related disciplines will be considered.

For more information on the supervisor for this project, please go here:

Type of programme: PhD

Project start date: October 2019

Mode of study: Full time

Entry requirements: Acceptable first degree - degrees in Material Science, Engineering, Chemistry and other related disciplines will be considered.

The standard minimum entry requirements is 2:1.

Funding Notes

This PhD project is offered on a self-funding basis. It is open to applicants with funding or those applying to funding sources. Details of tuition fees can be found at View Website.

A bench fee is also payable on top of the tuition fee to cover specialist equipment or laboratory costs required for the research. The amount charged annually will vary considerably depending on the nature of the project and applicants should contact the primary supervisor for further information about the fee associated with the project.


[1] Biomass-derived porous carbon materials with sulful and nitrogen dual-doping for energy storage. DOI: 10.1039/c0xx00000x.
[2] Facile synthesis of few-layer graphene from biomass waste and its application in lithium ion batteries. Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry 768 (2016) 18–26
[3] Biomass-derived renewable carbon materials for electrochemical energy storage. MATER. RES. LETT., 2017.VOL. 5, NO. 2, 69–88

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