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Ultra-low loading Pt electrocatalysts based on carbon supported alloys for oxygen reduction in hydrogen fuel cells and their lifetime prediction

College of Science

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Dr G He , Dr S Jiang , Prof D Brett No more applications being accepted Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
Lincoln United Kingdom Applied Chemistry Artificial Intelligence Chemical Engineering Data Analysis Data Science Energy Technologies Inorganic Chemistry Nanotechnology

About the Project

This project aims to develop sustainable and low-cost oxygen electrocatalyst based on the carbon framework supported ultra-low loading Pt alloy clusters to realise the high performance and stable energy outputs.

With global population and demands for energy increasing, non-renewable resources such as coal, oil and natural gas are being rapidly depleted. Global challenges, such as air pollution and climate change, require urgent technological solutions. The UK government set the 25 Year Environment Plan in 2018, emphasising the increase of resource efficiency and the reduction of pollution and waste. The hydrogen fuel cell is one of the promising candidates for next-generation clean energy suppliers, but expensive electrocatalysts (relatively high loading Pt) on cathodes limited their further application. This project aims at developing low-cost and high-performance oxygen reduction electrocatalyst based on the ultra-low loading Pt alloys on carbon framework. The mechanism will be studied via the advanced in-situ characterisation techniques, and the lifetime of the electrocatalysts and fuel cell devices will be monitored and estimated via the developed programme. The successful candidate will work with a skilled and interdisciplinary supervisorial team (materials chemistry, computer science, chemical engineering) from University of Lincoln, UCL and Bramble Energy Ltd. The student will be trained for chemical synthesis, materials characterisation, electrochemical evaluation, computational coding and fuel cell fabrication.

Skills the candidate will learn:

  1. Materials synthesis, processing and characterisation methods
  2. Electrochemical performance evaluation for oxygen reduction reactions
  3. Fabrication of fuel cell devices
  4. Computational coding for lifetime prediction of fuel cells
  5. Collaborative skills among academic field and industry

Ideal candidates:

  1. Should have, at a minimum, a 2.1 degree in chemistry, materials science, chemical engineering or a related discipline
  2. Can demonstrate skills and experience (or an aptitude for mastering) the synthetic chemistry, energy device fabrication and computational coding
  3. Are academically curious and think deeply and creatively
  4. Communicate well in both written and spoken English
  5. Are empathetic, kind, have great social skills, and enjoy working with others from diverse backgrounds
  6. Take responsibility for the progress and quality of projects

Who is eligible for funding?

Please make sure to check the eligibility criteria before you apply. Normally, a student must have no restrictions on how long they can stay in the UK and have been ordinarily resident in the UK for at least 3 years prior to the start of the studentship.  UK students will be eligible for a full studentship, covering the costs of Home fees, and a stipend to support living costs for 3.5 years. 

Although most DTP students must be UK residents, we also have an opportunity for an international (EU and non-EU) student. The international studentship award will be subject to eligibility, and also the availability of complementary funding (to provide the differential to the international fee rate). You should get in touch with the lead supervisor before applying this award.  


To apply, please complete the application form and send it to [Email Address Removed]

Funding Notes

The University of Lincoln has received funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences research Council to establish a Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP), which will provide skills training to foster the next generation of world-class research leadership in areas of strategic importance to both EPSRC and the University of Lincoln.

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