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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/R002010/1
Title: Understanding the critical role of interfaces and surfaces in energy materials
Principal Investigator: Skinner, Professor SJ
Other Investigators:
Aguadero, Dr A Lischner, Dr J Ryan, Professor M
Payne, Dr DJ
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Ceres Power Ltd Inst Condensed Matter Chemistry (ICMCB)
Department: Materials
Organisation: Imperial College London
Scheme: Platform Grants
Starts: 01 October 2017 Ends: 30 September 2022 Value (£): 1,304,889
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Materials Characterisation
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Energy
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
22 May 2017 Platform Grant Interviews - 23 May 2017 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
'Energy materials' encompass a wide range of technologies, ranging from thermoelectrics to fuel cells, batteries, photovoltaics and magnetocalorics, among others. Many of these energy materials are developed as multi-component solid state devices and these devices inherently possess a number of electrochemically active interfaces. It is these interfaces, e.g. solid/solid, liquid/solid or gas/solid, that control the function of the device, and are typically the source of degradation. Many current techniques used to analyse these devices and their components rely on idealised systems in high vacuum environments to gain information on the near surface chemistry. This necessitates the use of post-mortem operation analysis and clearly represents a significant mismatch from the conditions under which devices operate. Increasingly it is acknowledged that in-operando measurements are required, but that the measurements are themselves difficult and demanding. It is our intention to develop expertise with in-operando characterisation of energy materials. This will build on our existing expertise and capability in surface analysis and in-situ measurements. As an example, a fuel cell operating at 823K will be subjected to temperature gradients, cation segregation, potential gradients, poisoning and chemical changes induced by these conditions, all of which are inter-related, but separating the individual contributions has so far proved impossible. Similar issues involving the interface and surface chemistry of solid state batteries, permeation membranes and co-electrolysers will also be addressed using these techniques. By developing in-operando correlative characterisation we aim to deconvolute these processes and provide detailed mechanistic understating of the critical processes in a range of energy systems.
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