Energy PhD Project Molten Salt Batteries, "Creating the Next Generation of Energy Storage for Renewable Energy Generation and Smart Grids"

Supervisor: Dr Rohit Bhagat

Project Overview: The electrical energy being used around us was generated a few moments before it was supplied. This is because the way things stand energy generation and demand must be in constant balance. This is problematic for energy generation, as it requires spare capacity and constant shifting of power output. This is even more of a problem for renewable energy generation, which is often unpredictable and intermittent. Grid scale energy storage is a powerful solution for this issue, allowing energy to be stored and supplied to the grid when it is demanded. This would improve utilisation of renewable energy generation and efficiency of conventional energy generation. Medium scale energy storage would enable integration of energy generation and usage on a local level thus enabling smart grids. Furthermore, smart grids would allow energy demand and supply to be normalised at a local level.

Current lithium ion battery technology is inappropriate for this application because it is too expensive and has substantial challenges in terms of lifetime. Molten salt batteries offer an effective cheap long-term solution to energy storage. Example of such batteries include the liquid metal battery being developed at MIT, Boston and those developing aluminium molten salt batteries

Objectives :

  • Study the thermodynamics of molten salt systems to identify reversible systems that could be used to store energy.
  • Construct a lab scale molten salt batteries based on the identified systems
  • Characterise the batteries using electrochemical techniques
  • Optimise the molten salt battery
  • Construct a medium scale molten salt battery for use on university campus and integrate with a wind turbine.

Awards available:  1 award available.

Funding Details:  Fees and maintenance at RCUK Level

Length of Award:  3 years (PhD)

Eligibility:  For funding requirements the applicant should be eligible as a UK/EU student

Application Details: Applicants should have a First Class UK honour degree or equivalent, in a relevant discipline such as Chemistry, Chemical Engineering or Material Science.

Experience of molten salts, thermodynamics, electrochemistry or a MSc in a relevant subject is highly desirable.

Any enquiries relating to the application process should be directed to Jennifer Kirkwood at 

For further information, please visit:

Deadline:  30 November 2013

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