The transition to a renewable energy economy will necessitate the deployment of a massive amount of energy storage to integrate renewables and balance demand and supply. Thus, there is an urgent need to develop battery technologies that can be scaled-up to fulfill the stringent requirements of the grid, and most important, store electricity at very low cost. FAIR-RFB (Engineered Porous Electrodes to Unlock Ultra-low Cost Fe-air Redox Flow Batteries) is an ambitious research project funded by the European Research Council (ERC Starting Grant) and we are currently building a team of talented and enthusiastic researchers to tackle this challenging research program. The main aim is to develop a low cost and long-duration energy storage system (e.g. a 'giant battery') for large scale energy storage. In this project, we will focus on the fundamental science of porous electrodes, which are the core of next-generation battery technologies and determine their performance, durability and cost.
In this project, we are looking for two PhD students to unravel fundamental phenomena in porous electrodes. The specific roles of each vacancy are:
- PhD position 1 (porous electrodes): the PhD researcher will work on developing new porous electrodes by using polymer phase separation. The researcher shall develop a deep understanding of polymer dynamics and phase separation thermodynamics to be able to predict the resulting polymer structures and their relationship to the final battery performance. Our ultimate goal is to build an experimental pipeline, supported by theory, to synthesize porous electrodes with controlled three-dimension structures and composition for metal-air redox flow batteries. This multidisciplinary project will leverage principles of polymer chemistry and physics, electrochemical engineering, and transport phenomena.
Please include your preferred position in your cover letter. It is also acceptable to be interested in both positions.
- PhD position 2 (surface science): the PhD researcher will develop functional electrode interfaces for next-generation redox flow batteries. The research shall develop fundamental understand about the relationship between electrode interface and resulting electrochemical performance (i.e. kinetic activity, selectivity, stability). The researcher will regularly employ a new state-of-the-art electrochemical scanning microscope to map out electrochemical phenomena at the nanoscale. This multidisciplinary project will build upon principles in chemistry, surface science, electrochemistry, and microscopy.