Goodbye Stiven!

Stiven left QMUL and London on the 21st February 2022, back to Medellin, Colombia, to continue his studies in energy storage. Time has gone by really quick, but you managed to get lots of results (including a paper which will be soon published) and engaged with everyone. The group will miss you! Best of luck, and hope we will work again together.


New publication – Feb 2022

Sustainable Electrodes for the Next Generation of Redox Flow Batteries, by Michael Thielke, Gengyu Tian and Ana B. Jorge Sobrido, J. Phys.: Mater. 2022


The development of alternative energy storage technologies is key to advance renewable energy resources. Among them, redox flow batteries have been identified to be one of the most promising technologies in the field of stationary batteries. The carbon-based electrodes in these batteries are a crucial component and play an important part in achieving high efficiency and performance. A further leap into this direction is the design of fossil-free materials by incorporating sustainable alternative resources as the carbon component in the processing of the electrodes. The use of biomass as carbon precursor for electrode applications has also been a focus of research for other energy storage devices and in the case of redox flow batteries, it has become an emergent topic in recent years. This short review presents the recent advances in the design of biomass-derived carbon materials as electrodes in redox flow batteries, strategies to enhance their electrocatalytic properties, challenges, and future outlook in the design of sustainable electrode materials.

New publication – by Pavel and Szymon

Enhancement of the electrocatalytic activity for the oxygen reduction reaction of boron-doped reduced graphene oxide via ultrasonic treatment , published in International Journal of Hydrogen Energy 2022, 47, 5462-5473.


Commercial polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells have relied on scares Platinum to catalyse the kinetically sluggish oxygen reduction reaction occurring at their anodes. Over the last decade organic materials, frequently based on graphitic structures have been demonstrated as promising alternative electrocatalysts to the noble metals. Researchers typically utilize ultrasonic treatment as part of the synthesis procedure to achieve homogeneous dispersion of graphitic carbon prior to. Herein we investigate the implications of the structural and compositional changes induced by the ultrasonication treatment on boron-doped reduced graphene oxide for oxygen reduction reaction. It is shown that ultrasonication pre-treatment prior to the boron doping and reduction of graphene oxide via hydrothermal process step leads to the increase of both substitutional B and electrocatalytic surface area, with associated reduction of average pore size diameter, leading to a significant improvement in the oxygen reduction reaction performance, with respect to the non-ultrasonicated material. It is proposed that the higher degree of substitutional doping of boron is a result of formation of the additional epoxy functionalities on graphitic planes, which act as a doping site for boric acid.

Group Christmas Party 2021!

Great to catch up with all the group, including the new members, Jesus, Eneith and Stiven. Also with Paddy Cullen’s group, too! Yummy pizza and lots of fun with secret santa. Look forward to welcoming the rest of new members in January 2022!

Welcome Eneith!

Eneith has just joined our group to conduct the second year of her MSc as part of a joint programme between QMUL and CIMAV, Mexico. Welcome Eneith!

Welcome Jesus!

Jesus has just joined the group to perform his PhD on biodegradable electrospun materials with antibacterial applications. His research is funded by CONACyT, Mexican National Council of Science and Technology. Welcome Jesus! Looking forward to getting started with this exciting PhD project.

Welcome Stiven!

Welcome Stiven! Stiven will be doing a short stay in our group (Nov 2021 – Feb 2022) to work on bacterial nanocellulose for energy storage in collaboration with Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana, in Colombia, where he conducts his degree. We hope this collaboration within the framework of a Newton Fund -British Council funding will lead to great results. Hope Stiven has time to enjoy London, too!

Sustainability Week at QMUL – October 2021

This week has been Sustainability Week at QMUL and we have organised lab tours to show students and staff how we process lignin, a biomass waste product from the paper industry into advanced materials for energy storage, in particular for redox flow batteries. Thanks all the could make it! You were very engaging. And thanks Gengyu and Michael for helping make this event happen!