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Queen Mary University of LondonQueen Mary University of London
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Division of Chemical Engineering and Renewable Energy

Research Themes

Research within the Division is focused on the following themes:


Advanced functional materials from low cost sustainable precursors for energy storage and conversion

Prof Magdalena Titirici's research covers design and characterisation of advanced functional materials from low cost and sustainable precursors for energy storage and conversion technologies. Some of her research activities include:

  • Hard carbon anodes and hard carbon anode composites for Na- and K-ion batteries
  • Silicon based anodes for Li-ion batteries
  • Li-S batteries with focus on preventing the polysulphides shuttle
  • Lignin-based structural electrodes for supercapacitors
  • Metal free catalysts for oxygen and biomass electrocatalyisis
  • Biomass derived carbon dots for photocatalysis
  • Carbon capture and conversion on carbon materials
  • Hydrothermal carbonisation fundamentals for the design of sustainable carbon materials


Electroactive nanostructured materials for energy conversion & storage

Dr Ana Jorge Sobrido's research focuses on developing new electroactive nanostructured materials for energy conversion & storage technologies, including PEM fuel cells, PEM water electrolysers, metal-air batteries, redox flow batteries and photocatalytic water splitting. The high cost of noble metal catalysts employed is one of the major drawbacks to their full development and exploitation. Our group aims to design highly efficient and stable low-cost electrocatalyst and photocatalyst materials through a careful understanding of structure-property relationships.

Metal-Organic Framework (MOF) materials for energy conversion and storage

Dr Petra Szilagyi's research is focused on the physical and chemical properties of nanoclusters. These depend greatly on the number of constituent atoms owing to their increased surface-to-volume ratio (below the nanometre scale the majority of atoms are on the particle surface!) and to the discretisation of the energy levels in the solid state. In order to determine the effect of these phenomena it is crucial that  nanoclusters with well-controlled shapes and sizes (geometries) can be synthesised.
I'm interested in the design and engineering of materials for energy conversion and storage, particularly in the application of ultra-small spaces (< 1nm) as hosts and/or templates and how properties of materials change when their dimensions reach this level. Some metal-organic frameworks, an emerging class of organic-inorganic hybrid coordination polymers, offer such spaces as well as rich chemistry to tune host-guest interactions.

Sustainable energy generation using nanostructured functional materials

Dr Joe Briscoe's research is focussed on investigating a range of new materials, structures and material combinations for use in nanostructured, low-cost photovoltaics and photocatalysis. This includes earth-abundant and biomass-derived (renewable) materials, oxide-based devices, hybrid organic-inorganic lead-halide perovskites and dye-sensitised solar cells (DSSC). He is also continuing to develop ZnO nanorod-based energy harvesters (nanogenerators) including exploring commercial applications.

Soft matter and porous materials for energy engineering applications

Dr Edo Boek's research is focused on soft matter, energy, flow and transport of complex fluids in porous materials, multi-scale imaging and simulation. I investigate how the macroscopic behaviour of complex systems emerges from the underlying microscopic behaviour. My research includes two-phase and reactive flow in porous media, emulsions, ceramic foams, clean fossil fuels, CO2 storage, clay swelling, crystal growth, wormlike micellar fluids and asphaltene aggregation / deposition. Current applications are in the areas of renewable energy, battery design, fuel cells and supercapacitors. In particular, I am interested in the design and optimization of novel carbon fiber / slurry electrodes for electrochemical devices, including Vanadium Redox Flow Batteries, Electrolysers ans Fuel Cells, using combined synthesis, pore scale imaging and reactive multi-phase flow modelling. I develop both experimental and computational methods for my research. Experimental methods include micro-fluidics, (confocal) microscopy, rheology and X-ray micro-tomography. Computer simulation methods include lattice-Boltzmann, Multi-Particle Collision Dynamics, and Molecular Dynamics.