Welcome to Lia Grogan

Welcome to Lian Grogan!

Lia is an undergraduate research assistant who will be working with Dr. Ana Sobrido’s group for a period of two months until November 2018. She is in the final year of a four year degree at Trinity College Dublin (B.A. Mod. in Nanoscience, physics and Chemistry of Advanced Materials). Her project focuses on the fabrication and analysis of lignin derived freestanding carbonaceous electrodes for use in Vanadium redox flow batteries. She is happy to be working in an area of sustainable materials development, as she considers a move towards a low carbon energy future to be of critical importance. She hopes to graduate in 2019.

Maria presented her work on Flow Batteries at the Royal Society of Chemistry Energy Materials for a Low Carbon Future Conference

Maria showed her work at the Royal Society of Chemistry Energy Materials for a Low Carbon Future Conference, held during the 17th and 18th September 2018, at The Royal Society, London, 6-9 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5AG. She contributed to the meeting with a poster and also a flash presentation.

New publication – Integration of supercapacitors into printed circuit boards

In a collaboration project with UCL, Dina Ibrahim (UCL) has developed a supercapacitor integrated into a printed circuit board. Read the full article here.


Physically integrated energy storage devices are gaining increasing interest due to the rapid development of flexible, wearable and portable electronics technology. For the first time, supercapacitor components have been integrated into a printed circuit board (PCB) construct. This proof-of-concept study paves the way for integrating supercapacitors into power electronics devices and hybridising with PCB fuel cells. Commercial Norit activated carbon (NAC) was used as the electrode material and was tested in two types of electrolytes, sodium sulfate (Na2SO4) aqueous electrolyte, and Na2SO4-polyvinyl alcohol (Na2SO4-PVA) gel electrolyte. Electrochemical measurements compare the SC-PCBs to standard two-electrode button-cell supercapacitors. A volumetric energy density of 0.56 mW h cm−3 at a power density of 26 mW cm−3 was obtained in the solid-state SC-PCB system, which is over twice the values acquired in the standard cell configuration. This is due to the removal of bulky components in the standard cell, and/or decreased thickness of the overall device, and thus a decrease in the total volume of the SC-PCB configuration. The results show great potential for embedding supercapacitors into PCBs for a broad range of applications. In addition, further advantages can be realised through close physical integration with other PCB-based electrochemical power systems such as fuel cells.

New publication – High Performance N-Doped Carbon Electrodes Obtained via Hydrothermal Carbonization of Macroalgae for Supercapacitor Applications

High performance N‐doped carbon electrodes obtained via hydrothermal carbonization of macroalgae for supercapacitor applications.


The conversion of bio‐waste into useful porous carbons constitutes a very attractive approach to contribute to the development of sustainable energy economy, even more as they can be used in energy storage devices. Here we report the synthesis of N‐doped carbons from hydrothermal carbonization of macroalgae, Enteromorpha prolifera (EP), followed by a mild KOH activation step. The obtained N‐doped carbon microspheres exhibited surface areas of up to ~2000 m2/g with N‐loadings varied in the ranges of 1.4~2.9 at%. By modifying activation temperature, we were able to tune surface chemistry and porosity, achieving excellent control of their properties. The specific capacitance reached value of up to 200 F/g at 1 A/g in 6M KOH, for the sample (AHC‐700) obtained at activation temperature of 700 ºC. The as‐assembled symmetric supercapacitor using the sample (AHC‐800) activated at 800 ºC as the electrodes exhibited superior cycling stability with capacitance retention of up to 96% at 10 A/g even after 10,000 cycles, constituting the highest reported so far for biomass‐derived carbon electrodes. These results show the great potential of N‐doped carbons as electrodes for supercapacitors and confirm the excellent electrochemical properties of biomass‐derived carbons in energy storage technologies.

New publication – Carbon Nitrides for Water Electrolyzer Applications.

Carbon Nitride Materials as Efficient Catalyst Supports for Proton Exchange Membrane Water Electrolyzers, AB Jorge, I Dedigama, TS Miller, P Shearing, DJL Brett, PF McMillan, Nanomaterials, 2018, 8, 432-447.


Carbon nitride materials with graphitic to polymeric structures (gCNH) were investigated as catalyst supports for the proton exchange membrane (PEM) water electrolyzers using IrO₂ nanoparticles as oxygen evolution electrocatalyst. Here, the performance of IrO₂nan o particles formed and deposited in situ onto carbon nitride support for PEM water electrolysis was explored based on previous preliminary studies conducted in related systems. The results revealed that this preparation route catalyzed the decomposition of the carbon nitride to form a material with much lower N content. This resulted in a significantenhancement of the performance of the gCNH-IrO₂ (or N-doped C-IrO₂) electrocatalyst that was likely attributed to higher electrical conductivity of the N-doped carbon support.