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PhD Scholarships in Water Splitting at Monash University

Applications are invited for a PhD position to join Monash University, Australia. Applications are invited up to October 29, 2018.

An exciting opportunity exists for two gifted candidates interested in undertaking a PhD in the field of physical chemistry at Monash University while working towards a project "Low-cost, robust, high-activity water splitting electrodes" funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA). This project brings together complementary expertise of Australian National University and Monash University in the engineering, design and characterisation of electrocatalysts to develop scalable methods for the fabrication of efficient, low-cost and robust electrodes for H2 production from renewable energy sources via electrochemical water splitting. At Monash University, the work will involve two PhD projects, which will be undertaken under the supervision of Dr. Alexandr N. Simonov and Prof. Douglas R. MacFarlane. A unique feature of both PhD projects will be a short-term placement with the Power Development department of AGL Energy Ltd to explore the techno-economic aspects of the integration of a water splitting technology into the existing gas supply networks in a "power-to-gas" mode.

The work will focus on upgrading of the existing methods developed at Monash University and inventionof new procedures for the synthesis and modification of water splitting catalysts using solvothermal methods, with a major emphasis on a microwave-assisted approach. The research will also involve developmentof the procedures to improve the characteristics of water splitting electrodes fabricated by project partners from ANU. A critical aspect of the project will be comprehensive testing of the stability of the electrodes under industrially relevant conditions. Finally, the PhD student will actively assist one of the postdoctoral fellows working on the project in the construction and testing of a water splitting laboratory prototype.

Understanding the mechanisms of operation and degradation of water splitting catalysts will be the major aim of this PhD project. The work will involve extensive characterisation of electrocatalytic materials before, during and after testing using a set of advanced electrochemical and spectroscopic methods. Catalysts exhibiting the highest activity and stability will be studied by operando spectroscopic methods based on X-ray synchrotron radiation. The major outcome of this project will be the establishment of correlations between the electrocatalytic performance and structure/morphology/composition of water splitting catalysts that will serve as a guide for optimisationof the electrodes.

For international applicants, scholarships also cover the Monash University international student fees (40300 AUD per annum).

To submit an expression of interest application, please email the following documents to Dr. AlexandrN.Simonov as PDF attachments:


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