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Magnetic Resonance Research Centre
(Eck)
To reduce the impact of our society on global warming and the natural environment we are aiming to switch to the use of renewable energy sources. Currently, society is still dependent on fossil fuels both for energy (coal, natural gas, crude oil) but also for the production of synthetic chemicals (plastics, lubricants etc). One of the largest challenges for the energy transition is the storage of energy. Batteries form a part of the solution. Here at the magnetic resonance research center we investigate the next generation of battery materials. Using 7Li NMR we can for instance look at the mobility of lithium ions in solid electrolytes. We also study the effect of various treatments such as doping of the materials on its ion conductivity and relate that to the structural changes we can detect using NMR on a variety of nuclei. In the internship you can learn how to use a research grade NMR spectrometer and we can tailor your internship towards a more theoretical approach or a more engineering type of project where you can test battery assemblies. If you want to know more, visit our website or even better, talk to us, there always new and challenging projects running.
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analytical chemistry materials chemistry physical chemistry spectroscopy batteries green economy NMR renewables spectroscopy energy transition renewable energy sustainability Electrical Impedance Spectroscopy NMR solid state NMR voltametry
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Magnetic Resonance Research Centre
(Zhao)

Large-scale energy storage is becoming increasingly critical to balance the intermittency between renewable energy production and consumption. Redox Flow Batteries (RFBs), based on inexpensive and sustainable redox-active materials, are promising storage technologies. A RFB consists of two tanks of redox-active electrolytes, one catholyte and one anolyte, and its capacity can be scaled up just by increasing the volume of the tanks. The electrolytes flow through an electrochemical cell where redox reactions happen. Due to this design, one of the distinct features of RFBs is the decoupling of their energy storage and power generation, which provides unique opportunities for in situ monitoring.

We have developed in situ NMR metrologies to probe the electrolyte in the flow path or in the battery cell (Nature 2020, 579, 224). A wide range of redox processes can be readily studied. For example, using the bulk magnetization changes (observed via the proton NMR shift of the water resonance) of the anthraquinone resonances, we measured the concentration of paramagnetic species and thus demonstrated a new method to measure the state of charge of the battery (UK patent application 2102339.5).

Internship projects are available on various aspects of the operando NMR studies of flow batteries and electrocatalytic nitrogen/carbon dioxide reduction. For example, the student can be involved in the development of the second-generation operando NMR methods that incorporates the microfluidic NMR technology. The student will develop a skill set in NMR spectroscopy and electrochemistry, both are fundamentally fun and practically useful.


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IMM analytical chemistry flow chemistry materials chemistry physical chemistry spectroscopy batteries catalysis electrophysiology green economy NMR renewables environment green energy green IT renewable energy sustainability EPR NMR solid state NMR voltametry
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