The second Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems Centre for Doctoral Training (AAPS CDT) Conference, is taking place on the 13th and 14th of July 2023 here at the University of Bath campus.

This transdisciplinary conference will showcase the great research the AAPS CDT students are undertaking to define the future of clean mobility. The audience will include our rich and vibrant academic and student community, our industrial partners and many more.

This AAPS CDT student organised conference is packed with exciting speakers and activities and will feature guest plenary speakers, industry talks, lightning-style talks, PhD researchers’ presentations, poster sessions and be focussed on the following research themes: 

  • Transdisciplinary Research
  • Energy Efficient and Clean Propulsion Technologies
  • Human Interaction with Mobility Infrastructure
  • Automation & Digitalisation
  • Sustainable Fuels & Systems
  • Responsible Commercialisation and Policies

This website will be updated with conference details (as they are confirmed).

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Registration Information

Registration is now closed for the AAPS 2023 Conference. Registration will open shortly for 2024. 


The conference will be hosted at the University of Bath, in the Wolfson Lecture Theatre (4 West 1.7)

The address is:

4 West, Level 1 University of Bath Claverton Down Bath BA2 7AY

See the University guide for how to get to the city of Bath and the University campus.

You can find the lecture theatre on this campus map under 4W.


Day One

The first day of the AAPS Annual conference will be focused on research talks on two key research themes, Energy Efficient and Clean Propulsion Technologies and Responsible Industrialisation and Policies, as well as an introduction to Transdisciplinary Research. These talks will be followed by a lightning talk session and poster presentations from AAPS Students. The day will end with with a conference dinner in Bath city centre.

Professor Richard Burke will open the conference

Cohort 4 Presenting their MRes Group Project 

Jesse Wise, Aaron Villoslada Rodriguez, Indrek Heinmets, Sebastian Syncerz

Title: Towards Sustainable Access to University of Bath

Abstract: The University of Bath declared a climate emergency in 2022 and is committed to developing principles to guide our response to it. With the aim of contributing to tackling carbon emission reduction, the AAPS CDT used a system thinking approach to create a new ecosystem of solutions that guides the process by which students and staff living in residential areas of Bath and Bristol access the University of Bath.

AAPS CDT students will present a series of lightning talks

Lucia Burtnik - The Politics of Mobility

Constantinos Liagas - Power and Energy Fluctuations in Modular Multilevel Converters

Lukas Macha - Automated test case generation for system functions through falsification

Chan Wanasinghe - Beyond the Data Sheet: Estimating Electric Motor Parameters in Practice

Orla McCarthy

International Transport Forum 

Biography page

Title: Considerations for the Governance of MaaS

Abstract: Presentation on the policy principles that are important for the governance of Mobility as a Service (MaaS) in an urban setting based on recent work by the International Transport Forum.

This session will be chaired by: Matt Smith

Zebrina Hanley (from Royal Mail)

Royal Mail 

Biography Page

Title: Responsible Practices and Sustainability in Royal Mail

AAPS Cohort 2

Biography Page

PhD Topic: Anticipating the Environmental Impacts of Automotive: Integrating Future Energy Systems into Prospective Life Cycle Assessment

Title: Future Environmental Impacts of Passenger Vehicles

Abstract: Most life cycle assessment (LCA) studies confirm that electric vehicles have lower GHGs compared to combustion vehicles although can increase impacts in other categories such as resource depletion and toxicity. However, impacts are calculated as if they happen today using current data which while representative of the production phase, is not representative of the use phase which extends years into the future before the vehicle reaches end-of-life. Use and end-of-life impacts depend on progressive future changes in impacts of fuels, electricity, and other processes which are not considered in typical LCA. In response, this work conducts a time-adjusted prospective LCA (pLCA) to investigate the environmental impacts of current and future passenger vehicles considering global decarbonization scenarios. The outcome of this research aims to provide a better representation of passenger vehicle sustainability and offer methodology advancements in the LCA of long-lived products.

AAPS Cohort 4

Biography Page

Title: 'Takt' Timetabling and its benefits for integrating UK transport

Abstract: Swiss public transport is famed for its punctuality, but the ‘pulse timetable’ constitutes the most remarkable innovation. Devised in 1972 by a group of young rail engineers, their system uses the Taktfahrplan: a portmanteau of Takt (musical beat) and Fahrplan (timetable) that roughly translates to ‘pulse timetable’.

As the UK adopts larger regional transport plans, it risks losing sight of integration within and between regions to make the most of what we’ve already got. MaaS solutions which include Demand Responsive Transport turn away from the regularity and dependability that fixed scheduling provides the user. This talk focuses on what can still be learned from the Swiss rail slogan: ‘Not as fast as possible, but as quick as necessary’.

This session will be chaired by: Ryan Hughes 

Paul McCarthy


Biography page

Title: The Off-Highway Road to Zero CO2

Abstract: The off highway construction and agriculture sector need to play their part in the road to zero CO2 emissions. The solutions being developed for on highway transportation both technically and within legislation are not necessarily the optimum solution for the off highway sector. This keynote explores the demanding challenges and potential solutions for an off high highway road to zero CO2.

AAPS Cohort 2 

Biography Page

PhD Topic: Leidenfrost Self-propulsion of Cryogenic Droplets inside a pipe

Industry Partner: GKN 

Title: Design and Development of a Mechanical Testing Cryostat

Abstract: Due to the increasing concerns about the environmental crisis, reduction of emissions has been a top priority for industries such as the transportation industry. In order to meet goals set out by legislations, technological advancements are required to take place in all areas and subsystems of propulsion systems that are used to power the transportation vehicles. In order to make sure these advancements are safely adopted and recognized, vigorous testing is necessary. This presentation will describe the steps taken in order to design a mechanical testing rig necessary to test materials and components that can aid the development of future propulsion systems.

AAPS Cohort 2

Biography Page

PhD Topic: Beyond Predictive Energy Management

Industry Partner: AVL

Title: Predictive Energy Management: Optimisation of a Holistic BEV Thermal Management System Vehicle Using Dynamic Programming

Abstract: Automotive manufacturers face new challenges in maintaining cost and performance parity of new battery electric vehicles (BEVs) with their internal combustion engine counterparts. The thermal management for a BEV presents a complex control problem to maintain ideal powertrain operation and comfortable cabin conditions while ensuring satisfactory driving range. These challenges coincide with an evolving era of high-speed connectivity presenting opportunities to optimise control problems using predictive data. A proposed holistic BEV thermal management system modelled at AVL concentrates on four key domains (Atmosphere, Battery, Motor, and Cabin) which can be interchangeably defined as ‘heatsinks’ or ‘heat sources’ which are controlled by eight pre-engineered modes to enable best use of available heat energy. The control decisions have been optimised using Dynamic Programming, where the best results are observed over the WLTP cycle at 15°C ambient which yield an improvement of 5.6% efficiency, increasing the range by up to 18km.

AAPS Cohort 3 

Biography Page

PhD Topic: Reconfigurable Windings

Title: Reconfigurable Windings for Traction Machines

Abstract: The growing demand for sustainable transportation has fostered rapid advancements in electric vehicle technology, among which electric motors play a pivotal role in determining the overall performance and efficiency of electric propulsion systems. This presentation explores the potential of traction machines with reconfigurable windings to develop electric motor design and contribute to sustainable transportation.
The term reconfigurable windings refers to a novel approach where the winding configuration of an electric motor can be adjusted dynamically, enabling flexible operation and improved performance characteristics. Some achievable advancements of reconfigurable windings highlighted in literature include enhanced torque and power density, along with a wider operating region and efficiency-zone of the electric motor. This also has the possibility to improve overall system performance, reduce energy consumption, and extend vehicle range. Most notably, the utilisation of reconfigurable windings can facilitate a reduction in inverter current ratings, not only reducing the size and weight of power electronics, but also contributing to cost savings and improved system reliability. The integration of reconfigurable windings in electric motor design boasts significant implications for the sustainability of transportation. By increasing motor performance and efficiency, electric vehicles can achieve higher energy utilisation, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and lower dependence on fossil fuels. Furthermore, the downsizing of powertrain components and reduced energy consumption positively impacts the overall carbon footprint of electric vehicles.

Rob Gray: Cohort 1, Biography Page

Paloma Rodriguez Santana: Cohort 2, Biography Page

PhD Topic: Structural Batteries

Industry Partner: GKN

Title: Alternative Architectures for Structural Batteries

Abstract: Structural batteries are energy storage devices with the additional functionality of being able to carry a mechanical load. This allows them to be used as load-bearing components in electrified transport applications such as the door panel of an electric vehicle, reducing the need for a large, dedicated battery in the base of the vehicle. To be suitable for these applications, a large increase in the energy storage capability and mechanical performance of structural batteries is needed, however, significantly improving on the existing laminated architecture is difficult due to a number of challenges inherent to the architecture. Alternative architectures such as the double-coated, microbattery, and intermingled are all relatively unexplored but have the potential to improve upon the laminated architecture. In this work, the different components of alternative structural battery architectures are assembled and characterised to determine the potential of alternative architectures for structural batteries.

Alex Gilbert (from TfL)

Transport for London

Biography page

Title: Reducing the Carbon Emissions of London's Transport Network

Abstract: This presentation explores electrification initiatives in London's transportation sector, focusing on the integration of electric vehicles and the modernisation of public transport. This talk will also explore their potential to significantly reduce London's carbon footprint and contribute towards the city's Net Zero target.

There will be a poster session from AAPS CDT Students to showcase the breadth of research.

This session is sponsored by AVL. 

MacGeoffrey Ajaereh - Ultrasound Time of Flight (TOF) Measurements for Multi-Cell Lithium-Ion Battery In-Situ State of Charge (SOC) Predictions

Thomas Barthelay - Atomistic-Scale Modelling of Multifunctional Electrodes for Lithium-Ion Batteries

Lucia Burtnik - The Politics of Mobility

Edison Chamba - Transdisciplinary Working: What Are the Potential Benefits for the Automotive Industry?

Alex Fritot - Autonomous Parametrisation of PEM Fuel Cells

Dmitry Leshkov - Immersive UX Through Noise, Vibration and Harshness (NVH) Simulation for Autonomous Driving

Constantinos Liagas - Power and Energy Fluctuations in Modular Multilevel Converters

Aaron Lister - Pseudolimonene: A Potential Terpene-Based Building Block To Produce Biorenewable Non-Isocyanate Polyurethanes (NIPUs)

Kacper Kaczmarczyk - Modelling of Supersonic Hydrogen Jets

Lukas Macha - Automated test case generation for system functions through falsification

Dan Mason - Development of Single-Source Precursors for Chemical Vapour Deposition of Lithium Sulfide

Tara McGuicken - Getting the Timing Right: Travel Infrastructure Disruptions As Windows of Opportunity To Reshape Travel Habits

Howard Richards - Synchrotron Analysis of a Lithium Cell Experiencing DC Ripple Current

Elisabetta Schettino - Ceria and Yttria doped Barium Zirconate Fabrication Methods for Green Energy Devices

Ellie Smallwood - Autonomous Anomaly Detection: For the Test Cell and Beyond

Matt Smith - Advanced Air Supply and Energy Recovery Systems for Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles

Chan Wanasinghe - Beyond the Data Sheet: Estimating Electric Motor Parameters in Practice

Isaac Flower - Digitalised Net Zero Energy Systems Lab

Day Two

The second day of the AAPS conference will focus on presentations of research in the themes of Automation and Digitalisation, Human Interaction with Mobility Infrastructure and Sustainable Fuels and Systems.

Constantinos Liagas will welcome attendees to the second day of the conference

This session will be chaired by: Constantinos Liagas

Dr. Ettore Lappano Alessandro Faure Ragani


Dr. Ettore Lappano Biography Page

Alessandro Faure Ragani Biography Page

Title: Digital Engineering for Industry Transformation: Simulation and Data-Driven Strategies

Abstract: Data-driven approaches are becoming crucial for advanced product development and are reshaping the R&D processes. Access to sophisticated digital technologies, along with the skills, processes, and organizational structures to use them effectively are among the top priorities for CxOs. Emerging technologies, such as digital twin, artificial intelligence, machine learning, generative AI are fuelling the growing momentum; however, at scale adoption is still limited also due to a shortage of talent. Potential and limitations of these technologies will be discussed through real world example and data.

AAPS Cohort 1 Student

Biography Page

PhD Topic: Use-case Improved System Identification for Battery Systems

Industry Partner: AVL

Title: A Different Optimisation Approach Towards ECM Parametrisation Using Linear Regression

Abstract: Following the transition of the Automotive Industry towards electrification, the parameterisation of linear dynamic models for battery systems represents an intensively researched topic. One category of proposed solutions focuses on the application of linear solvers following their accuracy and fast computation, however, procedures presented as part of this group are also either limited to step response or restricted to the ARX structure. This presentation sets to introduce a new process which by integrating elements from the Kalman Filter will create an optimisation-type procedure based solely on linear regression. The novel procedure in relation to the Equivalent Circuit Models of battery systems presents an effective option, as only one fraction of the computational effort will produce results similar to the ones of Global Optimisers in regard to accuracy.

AAPS Cohort 2

Biography Page

PhD Topic: Robust Real-Time Thermal Modelling of High-Speed Permanent Magnet Synchronous Machine

Industry Partner: AVL

Title: Making Machines Remember: Applications to System Modelling

Abstract: Machine learning algorithms are becoming increasingly advanced, but this adds complexity and can make them slow. This talk will introduce methods that enable fast algorithms to be more accurate, providing important information about electric propulsion systems.

AAPS Cohort 2

Biography Page

PhD Topic: Structure-preserving numerical methods for battery electrolyte models

Title: Physically-Relevant Numerical Methods for Electrolyte Models

Abstract: "Structure-preserving" numerical methods are those which retain key properties of the system of governing equations - conservation of mass is one example. Preserving such structures is crucial to ensure numerical solutions are physically-relevant and qualitatively behave as they should. In this talk I will present two novel classes of structure-preserving methods for a model of electrodiffusion (the movement of charged particles in the presence of an electric field). The methods are not only unconditionally (i.e. without restriction on time step size) structure-preserving, but they also linearise the coupled non-linear system of differential equations. This reduces the computational complexity and solve time, which is of crucial importance for applications requiring data in real-time such as in battery state estimation.

AAPS Cohort 3

Biography Page

PhD Topic: Lithium-ion battery state of health estimation

Industry Partner: AVL

Title: Universal Problems Regarding Lifetime Prediction and Battery Degradation 

Abstract: Lithium-ion batteries are a key technology to facilitate mass adoption of battery electric vehicles (BEVs), which in turn, could significantly decrease the transport industry’s carbon footprint. However, a perennial problem associated with Li-ion batteries is their degradation over the BEVs lifetime. Conservative design choices and operation strategies are often used to compensate for this, resulting in resource under-utilization and over specification. This presentation will cover topics associated with Li-ion battery lifetime estimation, as well as possible methods to estimate its degradation rate, such as physics based or data driven models.

This theme will be chaired by: Ellie Smallwood

Dr. Jakub Krol

University College London

Biography page

Title: Human-Centric Design in the Era of Autonomous Mobility: Addressing Challenges and Shaping the Seamless Coexistence with Humans

Abstract: The increasing autonomy of mobility infrastructure poses significant challenges. While the realization of fully autonomous systems may lie in the distant future, it is crucial to address the role of humans in this evolving landscape. This presentation examines a range of projects conducted at the IM@UCL lab, illustrating the application of human-centric design principles within the context of autonomous mobility infrastructure. One notable research area focuses on enabling drivers to regain situational awareness quickly in autonomous vehicles by analysing brain signal changes during the loss and recovery of awareness. Another aspect involves establishing effective communication protocols between autonomous shuttles and other road participants (such as pedestrians, scooters, and bicycles) to foster cooperation, safety, and trust. Our investigations encompass the resolution of concerns surrounding privacy, safety, and noise in drone logistics, with a particular emphasis on optimizing routes to strike a balance between efficient operations and minimizing disruptions. Finally, we explore the development of eco-driving systems that conserve energy while emulating human driving styles, aiming to optimize energy consumption without compromising comfort or safety. By prioritizing effective communication, non-invasiveness, and human-like behaviours, our ultimate objective is to shape a future where autonomous mobility seamlessly coexists with human agents.

AAPS Cohort 2

Biography Page

PhD Topic: Understanding, Predicting and Facilitating the Public Acceptability of Environmental Transport Policies Across Demographic Groups

Title: Does experience change public support for Low Emission Zones? Exploring Bristol's 'Clean Air Zone'

Abstract: With rising impetus to address air pollution, governments are swiftly imposing traffic management strategies. The most common of these strategies are Low Emission Zones (LEZs), which have generated considerable public debate. Previous research has explored the factors that predict the public acceptability of LEZs, and noted that acceptance tends to increase after their introduction. However, little research has investigated the factors that explain this increased support, and no research to date has used a conceptual framework or been conducted in a UK context. For the first time, the current panel study explores if support for a LEZ in a large UK city (Bristol) increases after implementation, and which factors explain this change. At baseline (N = 878), ~73% of people were in favour of the LEZ. Amongst the strongest predictors of acceptability were trust in the local authority and a lack of negative emotions towards the LEZ. Notably, perceiving the LEZ as being fair for all societal groups was as important as one’s personal outcome expectancy. A second wave of data will be collected 3 months after the LEZ’s introduction, to inform which variables best explain changes in acceptance. Beyond this, this study will use Structural Equation Modelling to determine the specific pathways to changes in acceptance. Understanding which factors explain changes in support, and how they interact, has broad implications for informing how local authorities can facilitate support for LEZs, both before and long after a LEZ is introduced.

AAPS Cohort 2

Biography Page

PhD Topic: High-fidelity spatiotemporal modelling of electric vehicle charging demand at the distribution network scale

Title: High-Fidelity Probabilistic Modelling of Electric Vehicle Adoption and Charging Demand for Distribution Network Planning

Abstract: To meet emission targets many countries have announced bans on fossil fuel-powered passenger vehicles between 2030 and 2040, leading to a rapid increase in electric vehicle (EV) sales. However, supplying low-carbon electricity to the growing EV fleet poses significant network and energy supply challenges. Existing grid infrastructure has insufficient capacity to handle the increased demand from widespread EV charging, causing strain on the local distribution network and potential issues like voltage drops and equipment overloads. Consequently, distribution network operators (DNOs) may need to limit the number of new EV charger connections or even curtail charging while reinforcing the network. This potential bottleneck in EV adoption could hinder the overall transition to net zero.

Here a novel data-driven probabilistic approach is proposed to model EV adoption and charging demand, generating long-term forecasts for distribution network planning. The model combines multiple open-source datasets, such as census and vehicle registration data, to estimate EV adoption levels and EV charging demand profiles at the distribution substation level. This high spatial resolution is required to accurately reflect the heterogeneous clustering of EV ownership across cities and neighbourhoods, leading to different hosting capacity requirements for each distribution substation. Utilising open data allows this approach to scale to the entire UK while maintaining a high spatial resolution. It aims to integrate uncertainty quantification and propagation through Bayesian statistical methods alongside flexible forecasts that can adapt to new policies and inform rapid scenario analysis.

By incorporating these core principles into the model, DNOs can build trust in the model outputs and ensure the timely establishment of new EV charger grid connections. The model will inform the development of a decision-making tool to guide DNOs on where, when, and to what extent grid reinforcements will be necessary to accommodate the influx of EVs.

AAPS Cohort 2

Biography Page

PhD Topic: Feasibility of implementing Mobility as a Service in a regional context

Title: Mobility as a Service Impacts on Air Quality and Human Health

Abstract: Mobility as a Service (MaaS) aims at integrating multiple transport modes into a single mobility service accessible on demand. This is expected to improve mobility with a direct impact on the increase in modal share of more environmentally friendly and efficient mobility options while reducing the use of privately owned vehicles.
The requirements for a wide adoption to generate effective results lead to urban implementations of this service, leave suburban and rural areas with the prevailing transport deficiencies that contribute towards (1) a lack of job opportunities and (2) reducing social independence.
Emphasising the need for a regional approach for the transport system, this research aims at presenting the impacts of a regional MaaS on emissions and associated human health impacts

AAPS CDT students will present a series of lightning talks

Jac McCluskey - Recent changes to UK bus and rail regulation

Alex Ribnishki - Kinetic Mechanism Performance at Engine-Relevant Conditions

Edgar Romero - An Experimental Rig for Additively Manufactured Heat Exchangers

Rita Prior Filipe - A PhD Logbook

Sarah Toy - Who Doesn’t Own a Car and What Can We Learn From Them? Findings From a Systematic Literature Review

This theme will be chaired by: Sebastian Syncerz

University of Southampton

Biography page

Title: Tuning the Reaction Interface for CO2 Conversion to Higher Order Products

Abstract: The electrochemical CO2 reduction reaction (CO2RR) represents a key route to reducing carbon emissions. CO2 captured from industrial sites could be fed into a reactor to both decrease the amount of CO2 being released and reduce dependence on fossil fuels from which these materials are sourced. Much of the CO2RR literature focuses on the “triphasic interface”, where gaseous CO2 reacts with a liquid electrolyte at a solid catalyst. However, experimental challenges mean that this desirable interface is not always present, as is a common failure mechanism for many CO2RR systems. This work addresses this challenge by producing gas diffusion electrodes with surface modifications to facilitate a triphasic interface. Polymers with Intrinsic Microporosity (PIMs) trap CO2 at the catalyst surface to give artificially high surface concentrations and fast rates of reactions. Hydrophobic thiols repel water, keeping gas flow channels open to maintain this triphasic interface. This proof of concept could be applied to more complex electrode and catalyst designs, in order to push leading candidate catalyst materials towards the total conversion of CO2 to higher order products with improved selectivity.

AAPS Cohort 1

Biography Page

PhD Topic: Automotive Tribology - Development of Novel Precursors for Lubricious Coatings

Industry Partner: Infineum

Title: Automotive Tribology - Development of Novel Precursors for Lubricious Coatings

Abstract: Tribology plays an integral role in the development of energy-efficient technologies at numerous levels by increasing the energy efficiency and longevity of components through minimising friction and wear. This covers a wide array of sectors including energy, health, manufacturing, and transport with over 20% of total energy consumption on earth being used to overcome these effects with the majority arising from large industrial processes involving heavy machinery. The development of materials for reducing friction and wear in machine elements is an enormous challenge and one area of significant interest is the automotive sector with a particular focus on the internal combustion engine (ICE).
Currently employed additives in ICEs such as zinc dialkyldithiophosphate (ZDDP) and molybdenum dithiocarbamate (MoDTC) have been utilised as anti-wear and friction-reducing agents in lubricants for over 80 years. Despite their unquestionable success during this time, the resulting by-products of combustion have been known to damage catalytic convertors forming metallic ash and sulfurous/phosphorus oxide layers over the active sites of the catalyst inhibiting the performance. This has led to several governing bodies restricting the amount of sulfur and phosphorus within engine oil. This restriction has led to significant interest in alternative metal oxide systems which could compete with the current additives.
This presentation reports on the design and development of adaptive, multifunctional novel precursors; which act as a delivery molecule for Mo and W oxide systems combined with the ability to decompose in situ to form lubricious metal-containing thin films. These responsive thin films are predicted to offer competitive friction and wear protection whilst limiting the use of sulfur and phosphorus. New tribologically responsive precursor systems have been fully characterised by NMR, TGA and SCXRD, and the tribological performance of the precursors has been analysed using a TE-77 tribometer. The resulting scars from the friction evaluation and wear measurements have been analysed by energy-dispersive X-ray analysis.

AAPS Cohort 1

Biography Page

PhD Topic: Investigation of a Novel Pressure-Balanced Free-Piston Engine

Title: The system efficiency benefits that piston motion control can yield in linear generators

Abstract: Linear generators are often used to extract power from free-piston engines as the absence of a crankshaft renders rotational power take-offs less suitable. Whilst the use of linear generators bring about various challenges, mainly concerning cycle-cycle variation and combustion stability, they also provide opportunities for efficiency improvements. For example, the piston motion can be optimised for a given operating condition as its motion is no longer dictated by a crank-slider mechanism. Even though this has already been shown to improve thermodynamic efficiency, the energy required to obtain this optimised piston motion must be included to ensure than a system efficiency benefit is realised.

AAPS Cohort 2

Biography Page

PhD Topic: Hydrogen LCA for large transport vehicles

Title: Life Cycle Assessment of Hydrogen Supply Pathways for Large Transport Vehicles in the UK

Abstract: In the UK, the transport sector has reduced its carbon footprint far less than other sectors since 1990, and larger vehicles are particularly challenging to decarbonise due to the huge infrastructure requirements for electrification, and the limited range of battery traction. Hydrogen fuel cells are a promising solution to power larger vehicles cleanly. Producing low-carbon hydrogen is a part of the strategy of many countries including the UK, but it is important that other environmental effects are not overlooked. My project will produce a life cycle assessment (LCA) of supplying hydrogen to large transport vehicles. The LCA will assess environmental impacts and economic costs of current and future scenarios, including uncertainty and sensitivity analysis to identify critical materials, processes and assumptions. While this project is focused on the UK, researchers and decision makers will be able to customise the LCA to their country or region.

AAPS Cohort 1

Biography Page

PhD Topic: Solid Oxide Fuel Cell for Small/Medium Aerospace Applications

Industry Partner: GKN

Title: Greener Pathways to Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Electrolytes Fabrication

Abstract: Solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC) are useful devices for clean conversion of energy and have been developed to facilitate their integration in the world of cleaner energy harvesting.

This technology has exciting potential due to its high electrical efficiency and low operating costs. However, their high operating temperatures (800 – 900 ℃) have discouraged their use as propulsion systems, favouring devices operating at lower temperatures such as batteries or polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells. Recent advancements in materials development have allowed SOFC electrolytes to use proton conducting materials, thereby reducing their operating temperature range to 400 – 500 ℃. A viable candidate electrolyte is ceria- and yttria-doped barium zirconate (termed BZCY).

Despite this material performing well under laboratory conditions and promising a greener alternative to power generation, its methods of fabrication are far from being ready for mass production. Moreover, the high temperature and highly energy intensive manufacturing processes are not designed with the intent of being greener and energy efficient.

The most conventional method for producing ceramics is called “solid state route (SSR)”. This is a synthesis method requiring temperatures above 1500 ℃ for several hours. The high temperature and extended time are necessary to achieve solid-state sintering and densification for the larger particle size of the material. Methods such as “sol-gel” synthesis are often used to reduce particle size dimensions and subsequently decrease the sintering temperature to ~ 1250 ℃; however, because of their nano-sized grains, BZCY fails to densify properly. Smaller grain size also increases reactivity with the surroundings, leading to degradation and loss of mechanical properties. A method that is more energy efficient and allows for adequate densification of nano-sized particles is therefore needed to allow for this technology to be truly competitive in the energy sector.

Cold sintering proves to be the solution to the issues faced when manufacturing ceramic electrolytes. This method has been developed as a novel pathway to densification using a transient liquid phase, pressure, and heat to achieve dense ceramics. The procedure allows nano-sized particles to reach relative densities above 80 % at temperatures below 200 ℃ and pressures under 250 MPa. There is potential for the process to reduce the energy consumption related to the production of these electrolytes by 5 times compared to more conventional methods. Materials are fabricated by this novel route and characterised in terms of microstructure and electrical properties.

The student committee will officially close the annual AAPS Conference, and award the prizes for the best student talk and best student poster as sponsored by IET. 

Our Sponsors

Thank you to our generous sponsors for supporting this conference.

We are still looking for further sponsorship. Please get in touch with one of the student organisers if you would be interested in supporting this conference. 

© Copyright 2024 AAPS CDT, Centre for Doctoral Training in Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems at the University of Bath