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School of Physics and Astronomy

Next generation Na battery materials

Full-time Project: yes

Project Description:

Energy storage technologies are seen as an important tool in achieving a low-carbon future. The International Energy Agency estimates that under a scenario where variable renewable electricity accounts for 27–44% of total electricity production in 2050, an additional 310 GW of storage would be needed. Therefore a market for the outputs of this project exists in the long term. In the context of a rapid increase in demand for electricity generated from renewable sources, the interest in Na-ion batteries (NIBs) has grown due to their low cost and the need to increase the diversity of battery storage technologies for energy security considerations. For smaller scale (<60 kWh) decentralised energy storage applications NIB technologies are ideal candidates.

This proposal will advance the performance of NIBs in terms of energy and power density by creating a closed-loop approach for materials design, characterisation, modelling and performance. It will involve materials synthesis based on sustainable and upscalable manufacturing technologies and low cost precursors, advanced characterisation of their local structure, electrochemical tests coupled with multiple in operando characterisation tools and theoretical modelling, to fully understand the mechanism and dynamics of Na+ intercalation-deintercalation and establish structure-performance relations. Once the most promising anode materials have been identified, we will assemble and test full cells with well-performing cathodes from parallel research.


A good undergraduate degree in physics or related discipline.

SPA Academics: Alan Drew