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Anup Barai

What was your background and what made you decide to study for a PhD at WMG?

I joined WMG as a Research Assistant, having always been interested in pursuing career in academia. Prior to this I studied a MSc in Embedded Systems Design and a BSc in Electrical and Electronic Engineering.

Studying for a PhD was always part of my career plan and WMG provided me with a unique opportunity to study part-time, on a PhD research project which corresponded to my work as a member of staff. Thanks to my colleagues and PhD supervisors, in my experience this is one of the best routes to complete a PhD.

Tell us about your research project - what were you working on and in what area?

I have always been fascinated by automotive history, the speed, noise and smell of burning petrol! However, I could see the industry moving towards electric vehicles in response to environmental pressures. Wanting to be a part of this industry, I conducted my PhD research project on energy storage for automotive application.

One of the main challenges to the success of electric vehicles is having the correct energy storage system. Since their introduction, Lithium-ion (Li-ion) secondary batteries are of great interest as an energy storage solution for electric vehicles. The primary challenge in designing a Li-ion battery pack for electric vehicles is understanding Li-ion cell behaviour. Characterisation tests provide insight into the behaviour of the cell, however, these tests have received little attention from an automotive perspective. My PhD thesis addressed the issues with existing characterisation tests in a systematic way and provided suggestions for academic researchers and industrial engineers.

The outcome of the project has been published in multiple journal articles and has led industry partner Jaguar Land Rover and WMG’s centre HVM Catapult, to revisit their characterisation methodology as a result.

How did you find the experience of studying for your PhD? Was it what you expected? Any advice for future students?

The remarkable people from WMG and industry partners I’ve been introduced to during my PhD journey have made it a fascinating experience! At the beginning of the journey it was challenging to find a balance between PhD, work and personal life, which are all equally demanding. However, it was satisfying to create new research, which will benefit the environment.

Where are you now? What are you plans?

Following completion of my PhD I received a promotion to a Research Fellow position in WMG, where I am continuing the research energy storage and plan to expand its application.

Anup Barai