Development of novel nanostructures for the next generation of Fuel Cell vehicles

Eligibility: UK/EU/International graduates with the required entry requirements

Reason for eligibility restriction: Funder requirement, timescale

PhD funding award: Bursary plus tuition fees (UK/EU/International)

Duration: Full-Time – between three and three and a half years fixed term

Application deadline: 8 November 2019

Interview dates: Will be confirmed to shortlisted candidates

Start date: January 2020

To find out more please contact Dr Evangelos Gkanas.


Coventry University is inviting applications from suitably-qualified graduates for a fully-funded PhD studentship in the field of materials science for mobility applications. The current studentship is partially funded by the Lloyds Foundation. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to work along with field experts at the Hydrogen for Mobility Lab, Coventry University. 

The project

For hydrogen storage applications, Metal Organic Frameworks (MOFs) have been tested due to their high porosity and large surface area (can be used to trap hydrogen molecules). The addition of nanoparticles (NPs) into MOFs can effectively increase the amount of hydrogen storage and the kinetics of sorption/release and also might decrease the operation temperatures in order to achieve the US Department of Energy (DOE) targets for on-board hydrogen storage for fuel cell vehicles. The addition of the NPs will result in a highly dense packing condition at ambient pressure and temperature; thus, will improve the storage capacity.

The NPs that will be investigated will focus (but not limited) to the family of Pt-based NPs. Finally, several coatings will be investigated in order to increase even more the storage capacity. The first part of the project will be a theoretical investigation on the intrinsic properties of the nano-materials by atomistic modelling. Several cases will be investigated in terms of ideal structures, dopants and diffusion, to achieve the highest possible solid-state hydrogen storage. From the outcomes of the first part, the experimental synthesis and characterisation of the total storage system will take place.

Funding details

The research project is funded by the Lloyds Foundation and the Institute for Future Transport and Cities, Coventry University. The funding covers the tuition fees, provides a tax-free stipend per annum and also covers lab maintenance and conference attendance.


  • The successful candidate will receive comprehensive research training including technical, personal and professional skills
  • All researchers at Coventry University (from PhD to Professor) are part of the Doctoral College and Centre for Research Capability and Development, which provides support with high-quality training and career development activities.

Entry requirements

  • A minimum of a 2:1 first degree in a relevant discipline/subject area with a minimum 60% mark in the project element or equivalent with a minimum 60% overall module average.
  • The potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within a 3.5 years
  • A minimum of English language proficiency (IELTS overall minimum score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component)
  • The candidate should have a strong background in materials science both theoretically and experimentally. Usage of software that area focused on Density Functional Theory (such as CASTEP) will be an advantage. Experience in the synthesis (mainly wet synthesis) and characterisation (XRD, SEM, TEM, DSC, TGA, FTIR) will also be an advantage.

How to apply

All applications require full supporting documentation, a covering letter, plus a 2000-word supporting statement showing how the applicant’s expertise and interests are relevant to the project.

To find out more about the project please contact Dr. Evangelos Gkanas.

Apply to Coventry University