Dr Giles Richardson is a Reader in the School of Mathematics.
Giles has a number of PhD projects to offer in the area of renewable energy generation and storage (outline below). Driven by the pressure to develop technologies to reduce carbon emissions this is a fast growing and exciting area in which to work.
- Modelling the operation of perovskite solar cells.
Perovskite solar cells are a very recent photovoltaic technology that has shown an extraordinary growth in efficiency over the past 10 years, to the extent that they are now comparable with the best silicon cells. Nevertheless, their physics is still not fully understood and there remain issues of cell stability that need to be resolved before they are commercially viable.
- Modelling of Li-ion battery operation and manufacture.
Li-ion batteries are central to the future of the automotive industry. Since they comprise much of the cost (and weight) of an electrical vehicle, and limit its range and lifetime, there is a strong drive to improve their performance and reduce their cost. Accurate mathematical modelling will play a central role in this technological imperative.
- Modelling photo-electrochemical water splitting to produce hydrogen as a fuel. Large-scale zero-carbon energy storage is a key unsolved problem of the renewable energy transition. One potential method of accomplishing this is by using a modified solar cell to generate hydrogen by photo-electrochemical water splitting. However, there remain significant issues, related to the degradation of the photo-electrochemical cells and their low efficiency, that need to be resolved before this becomes a commercially viable technology. It is envisaged that mathematical modelling will play a key role in furthering the understanding of, and optimising, the complex physicochemical processes that underpin water splitting.