Energy Storage and its Applications

The ground-breaking Centre for Doctoral Training in Energy Storage and its Applications at the Universities of Sheffield and Southampton opened in October 2014, funded by the EPSRC, to tackle industrial challenges and develop new technologies and skills that will enable the UK to meet its low carbon targets.


Why choose a Centre for Doctoral Training for your PhD?

We offer a unique 4 year PhD training programme for a small annual cohort. Each student undertakes their research project with an industrial partner and receives a comprehensive technical and professional skills training. 

  • Engage with international energy research leaders at leading Russell Group Universities
  • Operate our brand new £5M EPSRC funded Grid Connected Energy Storage research facility
  • Partner with industries in energy generation, supply and technology development.

 As a graduate of the CDT you will be equipped with:

  • Understanding of energy provision as a complete system.
  • Insight into the socio-economic, policy and regulatory aspects of energy storage.
  • Awareness of how the industry could develop and how to identify new business opportunities.
  • Appreciation of industrial challenges and work practices (via an industrial placement).
  • Expert technical knowledge (via a PhD focusing on a single storage technology).
  • Excellent employment prospects to fill the demand for doctoral level trained employees in the development and delivery of the UK energy storage sector. 

What does our bespoke training programme cover?

The Energy Storage CDT offers a four-year, full-time postgraduate research degree combining PhD level research with a taught programme involving technical, and professional skills training. 

Year One 

The first year introduces students from a wide range of backgrounds to the current state of the art in energy storage, acquiring the engineering language and skills to understand technologies and solutions in energy storage. The modules studied are:

  • Introduction to Energy Technologies, Environment and Sustainability (taught at the University of Southampton, 15 credits)
  • Global Energy Systems (taught at the University of Sheffield, 15 credits)
  • Fundamentals of Energy Storage (taught at the University of Sheffield, 30 credits)
  • The Social Science of Energy Storage (taught at the University of Sheffield, 15 credits)
  • Mini-project (at either University, 15 credits)
  • Energy Storage Applications (taught at the University of Southampton, 30 credits)
  • Summer project (at either University, 60 credits)

All modules are compulsory. Each module is delivered via one week of block teaching on campus followed by three weeks of independent study. Each credit represents 10 hours of work. Students must pass all modules to proceed to Year Two.

Years Two to Four

At the start of Year 2 (October) students start their PhD project. Students follow the University doctoral progression regulations, with regular reporting on progress and upgrade assessment to progress through the PhD. As well as doctoral research, during years two to four students complete several professional skills modules to facilitate their CV for career acceleration after graduating from the Centre.

Students are required to submit their final thesis for examination by the end of Year Four, which coincides with the end of funding. The maximum time limit for the submission of the thesis is five years.

Project Openings

Southampton - Dr Denis Kramer - Simulation of thermodynamics and kinetics of processes at and across charged battery interfaces.

The project will provide the opportunity to closely interact with the Faraday Institution (FI), the ), the £78m UK Government’s Flagship Initiative for the development of next-generation battery-powered electric cars. It will also involve collaboration with other projects in Battery Science at the University of Southampton, a founding member of the Faraday Institution.

Modern high-performance batteries (predominately Li-Ion based) are based on complex chemistry whose understanding is crucial as it determines the performance and the lifetime. A key challenge is to develop an atomistic understanding of the interfaces between active material and electrolyte and link this understanding to macroscopic characteristics such as intercalation and degradation rates. This project will provide opportunity to fully exploit state-of-the-art Density-Functional-Theory as well as classical force field methods to investigate the nature of the charged interface on both sides of a battery interface as well as processes across it at an atomistic level. Embedded in principled thermodynamic considerations, this atomistic understanding will allow the construction of novel physics to describe battery interfaces with applications in cell and pack design as well as lifetime prediction. 

Applications are encouraged from top-level graduates in Chemistry, Physics or related subject. Experience with first principles quantum mechanical calculations and/or classical molecular dynamics simulations is desirable but not essential. Similarly, an interest in thermodynamics and physical chemistry as well as electrochemistry is highly desirable. We are looking for applicants that are compatible with the high expectations within the CDT and thrive in a collaborative and fast-paced environment. If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Denis Kramer, Engineering Materials and Surface Engineering, Email: d.kramer@soton.ac.uk, Tel: +44 (0) 2380 59 8410