PhD Studentship: Novel nanocomposite hydrogen storage materials

Closing Date
Wednesday, 7th March 2018

Advanced Materials Research Group, Engineering Faculty

Supervised by Professor Gavin Walker and Professor David Grant

This exciting project will synthesis novel systems based on high gravimetric metal hydrides and complex hydrides and tailor the thermodynamic and kinetic performance of the material through the control of nanostructure and the selection of dehydrogenation agents.Many high capacity hydrogen storage materials like complex hydrides (e.g. lithium borohydride and light metal hydrides (e.g. magnesium hydride) require high operating temperatures in excess of 300°C in order to release the hydrogen. This project will investigate reactive nanocomposites based on these high hydrogen capacity materials, aiming for working temperatures close to ambient. This project will explore a new family of reactive agents, optimising the kinetics of the system through the control of the nanostructure and the use of catalysts. The aim is to deliver a solid state hydrogen storage material with two to three times the capacity of current commercial alloys. The student will work within a very active hydrogen research group, investigating the synthesis of new materials and have access to a variety of materials characterisation and electron microscopy facilities to fully characterise the systems and correlate these properties with materials storage performance. The student will also have opportunities to run synchrotron and neutron experiments on their samples at Grenoble and other large-scale facilities, powerful techniques for in situ characterisation of the materials during cycling.

Studentship summary: The 4 year PhD position is available from 1 Sept 2018 (earlier start dates will be considered). The studentship covers both tuition fees and student stipend (£14,600 per annum for 2018/19 academic year). The student will also be part of the Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Fuel Cells and their Fuels (see below). 

Entry Requirements: UK/EU students. We are seeking a bright, highly motivated individual who has or is predicted to be awarded a first class or high 2(i) undergraduate honours degree or a second class honours degree plus a distinction at Master’s level in materials science, chemistry, chemical engineering, physics or a relevant discipline. 

To apply please visit:

For any enquiries please email Professor Gavin Walker (

This studentship is open until filled. Early application is strongly encouraged.

The EPSRC CDT in Fuel Cells and their Fuels: This is a collaboration coordinated by Birmingham University between 5 leading Universities. There is a vibrant community of 40 PhD students across these Universities investigating different aspects of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies and their applications. 

The CDT has a structured taught element through the first 18 months developing your understanding of the science, engineering and socio-economic issues related to hydrogen and fuel cell technologies, as well as developing transferrable skills sought by employees. There are a number of group and individual activities, including a one week summer school in Greece, short industry secondment in addition to attending national and international conferences which all help to develop key skills and expertise.