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Long-duration instrumented operando cell XAFS studies of modified Co-free Cathodes

PhD in Long-duration instrumented operando cell XAFS studies of modified Co-free Cathodes : LNO and LNMO

Project Overview

The development of next-generation batteries for electric vehicle applications requires developing cobalt-free (Co-free) metal oxides that can provide higher energy capacities at high voltages. Reducing the reliance on cobalt addresses both the material costs and ethical concerns regarding the supply chain. Promising Co-free candidates are being developed within the Faraday Institution’s FutureCAT project. For example, layered nickel layered oxides (LNO) and high-voltage spinel (LMNO) are industry-aligned next-generation chemistries for Co-free high-performance i.e. high voltage and energy dense applications in the automotive industry. Increasing capacity retention and cycling performance is a critical issue for these classes of materials. Key to optimizing their performance for integration into commercial cells is understanding how morphology, dopants and surface coatings can improve capacity retention at high voltages i.e. > 4.2V. Advanced characterization techniques, such as operando x-ray studies in real-format battery cells, are required to distinguish the true redox electrochemistry from side reactions that can occur under realistic operating conditions.

This PhD project is aligned with the Faraday Institution’s FutureCAT collaborative project to characterize new cobalt-free Li-ion battery cathodes for next generation methods at Warwick University. The Energy Innovation Centre at WMG, Warwick University is a leading National facility for battery research across the R&D process from materials and electrochemistry through to application integration and recycling / second life. This project will perform cutting-edge fundamental electrochemistry & materials science of state-of-art batteries manufactured at WMG to develop instrumented pouch cell format cells with reference electrodes. These activities will include the application of a newly acquired state-of-art in house x-ray absorption fine structure spectrometer (XAFS) for in-situ battery studies on instrumented cells to complement the suite of analysis tools at WMG and Synchrotron studies at Diamond Light Source.

This 4-year fully funded PhD is supported by Faraday Institution Training Grant is funded from an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Training Grant awarded to the Faraday Institution as part of Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) Faraday Battery Challenge Funding. The project will be based in the Electrochemical Materials division at WMG, Warwick University and be supervised by Professor Louis Piper. Students will collaborate with the FutureCat consortium and are expected to be involved in cell manufacturing, testing and characterization. Applicants should have a top-level degree in Chemistry, Physics, Materials Science Engineering, or related subject. Experience with lithium-ion battery characterization and testing is desirable but not essential. To discuss the project informally, please contact Professor Piper email: louis.piper@warwick.ac.uk

Essential and desirable criteria

Prospective candidates are expected to have a minimum 2.1 undergraduate (BEng, MEng, BSc, MSci) and/or postgraduate masters’ qualification (MSc) with 65% or above.

Applicants should have a top-level degree in Chemistry, Physics, Materials Science Engineering, or related subject. Experience with lithium-ion battery characterization and testing is desirable.

Funding and Eligibility

Standard Research Council Maintenance Award of £15,285 for 4 years. Funding is available to eligible Home fee status and UK domicile EU students.

To be eligible for this project the successful applicant should have indefinite leave to remain in the UK and have been ordinarily resident here for 3 years prior to the project start-date, apart from occasional or temporary absences. Additional details of these criteria are available on the EPSRC website.

Apply

To apply please complete our online enquiry form and upload your CV, certificates and transcripts

Please ensure you meet the minimum requirements before filling in the online form.

Key Information

Funding Source: EPSRC - Faraday Institution Training Grant

Stipend: Annual stipend at standard research council rates (£15,285 for 2020-21) for 4 years.

Supervisor: Professor Louis Piper and Dr Mark Copley

Available to UK nationals

Start date: 4th October 2021