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Project to aid discovery of advanced materials

A £6.7M grant has been announced for research aimed at accelerating the discovery and application of advanced materials for the energy sector.

It was awarded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council to a team led by University of Liverpool professor Matthew Rosseinsky for a five year project.

The programme of work, titled Integration of Computation and Experiment for Accelerated Materials Discovery, will develop new methodology to identify advanced functional materials.

Rosseinsky said the methodology would be used initially to identify new materials for batteries, fuel cells and energy-efficient information storage, as well as renewable energy harvesting. The focus would be on enhancing the fundamental way in which new materials were looked for, he said.

The professor will head up a team at the University of Liverpool and University College London, which he said would work to tackle the challenge of designing and testing new materials at the atomic level and aimed to keep the UK ahead in the global materials competition.

“The controlled arrangement of atoms and molecules to create function is a grand scientific challenge,” he said. “With the approaches we will develop, we aim to address problems such as how to create materials for sustainable energy production and storage such as safer new battery technologies or the efficient capture and utilisation of solar energy.

“Our team will include specialists in prediction of the structures and properties of materials, in measurement and materials synthesis. We will combine computation and experiment to discover new materials, developing methods that combine calculation with chemical understanding.”

As part of the programme, Rosseinsky said the team would exploit its discoveries and share its approach with its commercial partners via the Knowledge Centre for Materials Chemistry and the new Materials Innovation Factory, a state-of-the-art materials research facility for both academic and industrial users.

Minister for universities and science Jo Johnson said: “Advanced materials will be crucial for future energy storage technologies like smaller, longer-lasting batteries and more efficient solar panels.

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