The Doctorate Programme on Emerging battery Storage Technologies Inspiring Young scientists (DESTINY) PhD program is set to reinforce European research in energy storage in line with the objectives of Battery 2030+, a group of projects designed to improve research in accelerated discovery of battery interfaces and materials, integration of smart functionalities, and other cross-cutting areas like manufacturability and recyclability. It is a 5-year EU Marie Sklodowska-Curie COFUND project which will have 2 cohorts of students that will be hired in September of 2021 and 2022, covering 29 different topics.
This project has many objectives, with a focus on improving Europe's competitivity in the field as well as the growth of the hired researchers. More specifically, the DESTINY PhD Program aims to give a competitive edge to European research in the battery field, creating future leaders through opportunities given to young researchers to enter a scientific community that has its focus on being International, Intersectorial and Interdisciplinary. To achieve so, DESTINY wants to develop a high quality training, integrated and sustainable at the European level. This boost will contribute to research towards breakthrough technologies for science, industry and society.
ICMAB’s implication with the future of energy
The DESTINY program is co-founded by the European Commission, through the Horizon 2020 Marie Sklodowska-Curie COFUND PhD Programme (Grant Agreement #945357). ICMAB is one of the partners of the project, together with 40 other international partners, including 20 Universities, 13 Research centers, Research Networks, Regions, 7 Companies, Large Scale Facilities & National Agencies. ICMAB, as project partner, is offering 2 of the 29 possible topics for PhD’s:
Topic n°5 : Electrochemical and structural study of blended positive electrode materials for high power Li-ion batteries
This project is in collaboration between ICMAB-CSIC, in Barcelona, and CIC energiGUNE in Vitoria, both in Spain. The project will be supervised by M. Rosa Palacín, ICMAB researcher at the Solid State Chemistry (SSC) group.
"The project will aim at understand synergistic effects between materials and specific contribution of each type of active material to capacity, reaction rate and degradation behavior of the blends. Materials have been chosen based on application requirements. While LMO and Li-rich compounds are cheap materials with relatively high gravimetric energy density, layered NMC oxides provide high power and high volumetric energy density. Structural characterization (diffraction) will be coupled to electrochemistry to reveal internal dynamics between the constituents under cycling conditions and rest at different temperatures and in different electrochemical setups (3 electrode laboratory cells or 2 electrode coin cells). Strong emphasis will be placed in combination of advanced electrochemical methods to structural and microstructural characterization. Operando diffraction experiments are foreseen at the laboratory scale, which will be coupled to proposals to request beamtime at large scale infrastructures (synchrotron, neutron). The use of complementary spectroscopic techniques such as XPS, X-ray absorption, Raman, ssNMR, etc. is also foreseen."
It is estimated that the student will spend 50% of the time at each institution (CIC energiGUNE in Vitoria and ICMAB-CSIC in Barcelona, both in Spain) following a flexible schedule depending on experiment organization and outcome. In addition to that, the PhD candidate will perform a 3 months secondment at Umicore premises at a relative early stage of the project to carry out specific electrochemical and physical tests on blended electrodes and benefit from exposure to the industrial environment.
More information about Topic nº5.
Topic n°20 : Ca and Mg batteries: improvement of performances by interface engineering
This project is in collaboration between ICMAB-CSIC, in Barcelona, and the Institut des Sciences Analytiques et de Physico-Chimie pour l'Environnement et les Matériaux (IPREM), Unité Mixte de Recherche CNRS/Univérsité de Pau et de Pays de l'Adour, UPPA), France. The project will be supervised by Rémi Dedryvere (IPREM), with Alexandre Ponrouch as ICMAB supervisor, researcher at the Solid State Chemistry (SSC) group.
"The research project aims at improving the electrochemical performances of Ca and Mg metal anodes, with a careful focus on the relation between SEI chemical composition/morphology and electrochemical performances. Different electrolyte formulations and pre-passivation strategies will be investigated to obtain the best passivation layer for Ca and Mg plating/stripping properties and define the best strategies to prepare it (in-situ or through pre-passivation).
The overall project will be divided in three main sequences:
1) Simple electrolyte formulations will be studied allowing to clearly establish the influence of the solvent, nature and concentration of the Mg or Ca salt and additives on the passivation layer.
2) Pre-passivation strategies of the metal anodes will be scrutinized to obtain the best plating/stripping performances (coulombic efficiency and kinetics).
3) Pre-passivated metal anodes will be tested in more complex electrolyte formulations aiming at improving the cations mobility within the electrolyte, decreasing desolvation energy barrier and improving oxidation resilience.
At each step, surface/interface chemical characterization and electrochemical performance assessment will be of prime importance, with dedicated specialized tools (XPS in the lab and at synchrotron, ToF-SIMS for surface/interface analysis, cyclic voltammetry, galvanostatic cycling and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy for electrochemical measurements)."
To reach this goal, the PhD student will be based at IPREM (Pau) (75% time) and will do periodic research travels at ICMAB (Barcelona) (25% time).
More information on topic nº20.
You can apply to these or any of the other topics for the first cohort starting on 7 December 2020 and until 15 January 2021! You can do so by following the Guide for Applicants. The application includes a personal letter with a motivation statement and career plans, accademic records and English proficiency tests, a two page essay on Energy Storage and two recomendation letters from academic mentors. If selected, DESTINY PhD Studies will start on October 2021.
Image: Banner DESTINY PhD Programme