The MDL contains a multidisciplinary development suite for the advanced characterisation of and accelerated cycle testing of energy technologies. The facilities provide a multidisciplinary pathway to accelerate energy research from the bench to prototype devices and back again. It allows for the support of energy research internally, nationally and internationally through establishing a collaboration-based facility access structure. The MD-lab is housed on the first floor of the RAD building on the Jubilee Campus with the associated HP-XPS (high-pressure x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy) facility on the ground floor. Equipment purchased includes state of the art facilities for Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), near-ambient pressure X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (NAP-XPS), nanoscale imaging, gas-storage & separation, thermal analysis, fuel cell testing & accelerated gas cycling.
The facilities have grown to become essential testing and verification step for a number of different projects. Research groups from across the UK access the equipment and contribute to the development of novel materials in many applications.
The unique ability to test materials under representative temperatures, pressures and within a representative gas environment enables screening and down selection of materials much earlier in a research project than was possible before. Recent projects have included projects related to hydrogen storage, peat land monitoring, battery electrode characterisation and water electrolysis. These were all funded from a variety of funding routes associated with each specific project.
The research carried out on this equipment has enabled UoN to obtain direct access to synchrotrons around the world for ‘beam-time’ to supplement experiments.