The University of Newcastle, Australia

Lithium-Carbon Dioxide Batteries

Closing Date: 31 August 2018

PhD Scholarship

As one of the most promising new-generation batteries, Lithium-Carbon Dioxide (Li-CO2) Batteries show superior energy storage capability over most of our currently used energy storage devices.

This project aims to develop novel electrocatalysts composed of earth-abundant elements with controllable surface chemistry and nanostructure for lithium-carbon dioxide batteries. State-of-the-art two-dimensional frameworks of graphene (conductive graphitic carbon) and MXene (metallically conductive metal carbides/carbonitrides) will be employed as representative conductive hosts with various nonmetal and transition-metal species as electroactive sites. The core is to find electrocatalysts that can catalyze the reversible CO2/oxalate conversion at the gas cathode of Li-CO2 batteries with favorable reaction kinetics and high selectivity, unlike the previous inefficient and elusive reaction pathways.

The obtained Li-CO2 batteries will largely surpass previously reported ones in terms of high specific capacity, large energy density, excellent durability, etc.; they will also be competitive with Li-O2 batteries, but with better rechargeability, being much safer, more convenient and ready for practical residential and industrial applications from electric lighting and vehicles to grid energy storage. The successful completion of the project will benefit the CO2 utilization and clean energy industry of Australia.

Specific objectives of this project are:

  1. Synthesizing a series of heteroatom-doped graphene (N, P, S, B, etc.), graphene coupled with nonmetal materials (graphitic carbon nitride (g-C3N4), boron nitride (BN), black phosphorus, etc.), and graphene coupled with transition-metal materials (oxide, hydroxide, nitride, phosphide, etc.), as the cathode catalysts in Li-CO2 batteries;
  2. Preparing a range of MXene materials with different metal centers (Ti, Mo, Nb, Ta, V, etc.), and MXene intercalated by nonmetal and transition-metal guest molecules (g-C3N4, graphene, metal oxide, metal nitride, metal phosphide, etc.), as the cathode catalysts in Li-CO2 batteries;
  3. Understanding the mechanism of the CO2/oxalate reversible reduction and oxidation process catalyzed by the synthesized cathode materials, to further guide the composition adjustment and morphology controlling, leading to proper catalysts for the favorable gas cathode reactions in Li-CO2 batteries;
  4. Investigating the nature of conductive hosts (conductive carbonaceous graphene vs. metallically conductive MXene) and the synergetic effect of catalysts’ chemical composition and morphology on their electrochemical performance such as specific capacity, energy density and retention of Li-CO2 batteries.

PhD Scholarship details

Stipend Value: $27,082 p.a. (2018 rate) indexed annually. the living allowance stipend is for 3.5 years and the tuition fee scholarship is for 4 years.

Supervisor: Tianyi Ma

Available to: Domestic

Eligibility Criteria

The successful applicant must meet the University of Newcastle’s admission eligibility criteria. Domestic students only.

Application Procedure

Interested applicants should send an email expressing their interest, including scanned copies of their academic transcripts, CV, a brief statement of their research interests and a proposal that specifically links them to the research project, to by 31 August 2018 at 5pm.

Applications Close 31 August 2018

Contact Tianyi Ma
Phone +61 2 49138038

PhD and Research MastersFind out more