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A 4-year PhD studentship in Iridium degradation tracking and quantification in Catalyst Coated Membranes for water electrolysis

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 A 4-year PhD studentship in Iridium degradation tracking and quantification in Catalyst Coated Membranes for water electrolysis

Supervisor: Prof. Andrew M. Beale

Application deadline: 30/9/2023

Start date: 25/9/2023

The UCL Chemistry Department is offering a fully funded studentship to a highly motivated candidate to start in 25/9/2023.

The student will carry out his/her doctoral research at the Research Complex at Harwell, Didcot, Oxfordshire.

One of the challenges in the production of green hydrogen using electrolysis is the loss of iridium, an essential component of the oxygen evolution reaction (OER) catalyst. This loss occurs due to the aggressive environment at the anode of the electrolysis system, which can cause even the most stable iridium oxide catalyst to degrade over time through dissolution. To compensate for this loss and ensure the necessary system lifetime, an excess of OER catalyst is typically added to the catalyst coated membrane (CCM). Unfortunately, it is difficult to detect iridium loss through electrochemical methods. In this project we will apply advanced X-ray characterisation techniques to identify the nature, cause and rate of iridium loss under realistic conditions in order to help support the developments made by the project sponsor (Johnson Matthey Plc) regarding recycling procedures. The project will also work with Finden Ltd to apply advanced machine learning (ML) algorithms to enable ‘in cell’ computerised tomographic imaging of samples with complex backgrounds (such as in metal encased electrolyser cells). It is hoped that by showing the amount and location of Ir within the CCM, the sustainability of electrolyser systems can be improved in terms of both lifetime and via the recycling of critical materials.

The applicants should have, or be expecting to achieve, a first or upper second-class Honours degree or equivalent in the subjects Chemistry, Physics or Chemical Engineering.

Interested candidates should initially contact the supervisor, Prof. Andrew M. Beale, with a degree transcript and a motivation letter expressing interest in these projects. Informal inquiries are encouraged. Please note that a suitable applicant will be required to complete MS Form entitled Application for Research: degree Chemistry programme. In addition, it is essential that suitable applicants complete an electronic application form at (please select Research degree: Chemistry programme) prior to the application deadline and advise their referees to submit their references as soon as they possibly can. All shortlisted applicants will be invited for an interview no more than 4 weeks after the application deadline. Any admissions queries should be directed to Dr Jadranka Butorac and Asima Shaikh at [email protected].

Applications are welcome from UK nationals, EU students with settled/pre-settled status and students with indefinite leave to remain or enter.

Please note that the studentship only covers home fees.

The updated rules for eligibility for home fees for next year are available at View Website.

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