Switchable Windows for Building Application - Renewable Energy - EPSRC DTP funded PhD Studentship Ref: 2927

About the award

This project is one of a number funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Doctoral Training Partnership to commence in September 2018. This project is in direct competition with others for funding; the projects which receive the best applicants will be awarded the funding.

The studentships will provide funding for a stipend which is currently £14,553 per annum for 2017-2018. It will provide research costs and UK/EU tuition fees at Research Council UK rates for 42 months (3.5 years) for full-time students, pro rata for part-time students.

Please note that of the total number of projects within the competition, up to 15 studentships will be filled.

Dr Senthil Sundaram, Environment and Sustainability Institute, University of Exeter
Professor Tapas Mallick
, Environment and Sustainability Institute, University of Exeter

Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI), Penryn Campus, Cornwall

Project Description
Energy used in the buildings including lighting and energy demand to heat/cool consumes 40% of global energy. In Europe, on average 41% of produced energy is used within buildings. Moreover, buildings are responsible for one third of global greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). Building energy performance improvement is consequently an important part of European Union (EU) 2020 and 2030 energy targets to meet EU Kyoto Protocol commitments for CO2 emissions reduction . As part of this energy saving, adopting building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) and building applied photovoltaics (BAPV) is increasingly important. BIPV use was estimated at 2.3 GW in 2015 compared to 1.5 GW in 2014. Europe (41.7%) and USA dominate global BIPV installation. Daylight control can be effectively managed through switchable windows which can adjust the transparency level to block or allow sunlight in to the building. The switchable electro-chromic window will be developed in conjunction with the EPSRC funded JUICE project (EP/P003605/1) for building integrated applications. 

The aim of the project is to develop a switchable window using electro-chromic materials and test them under different conditions. The prototype will be developed based on electricity free electro-chromic window by incorporating PV element into the window. The main objectives of this projects are as follows

Nanostructured materials synthesis and thin film preparation on 10cm x10cm transparent conducting oxide glass: The nanostructured materials are decided based on their switching capacity. The project will majorly concentrate on metal oxides and their electro-chromic natures. This objective covers the materials synthesis, characterisation of the materials and thin film preparation through chemical route to have the cost effective nature of the windows. DFT modelling approach will be employed for materials selection and study of the molecular dynamics of metal oxides. Based on the DFT studies, the electro-chromic materials will be tuned to have a better performance.

Electrochemical properties of electro-chromic coating and switchable cycle experiments:  electrochemical properties, impedance analysis for the thin films and scale up engineering challenges will be involved. 

Switchable window prototype: 10cm x10cm switchable glasses will be made and integrate them with solar cells. The initial arrangements for the small prototype as well scale up to 20cm x20cm PV embedded display window will be made. 

The candidate will have several trainings such as numerical analysis using COMSOL and Matlab for heat transfer analysis of the prototype unit, DFT modelling for molecular dynamics and also will have experimental techniques such as XRD, UV-Vis, Impedance, SEM/TEM analysis, electrochemical studies and quantum efficiency and adaptive heat transfer measurements.

Entry Requirements
The applicant should have or expect to achieve at least a 2:1 Honours degree, or equivalent, in Physics/Engineering/Material Science, having ability to work both simulation and experimentation.

If English is not your first language you will need to meet the English language requirements and provide proof of proficiency. Click here for more information and a list of acceptable alternative tests.

The majority of the studentships are available for applicants who are ordinarily resident in the UK and are classed as UK/EU for tuition fee purposes.  If you have not resided in the UK for at least 3 years prior to the start of the studentship, you are not eligible for a maintenance allowance so you would need an alternative source of funding for living costs. To be eligible for fees-only funding you must be ordinarily resident in a member state of the EU.  For information on EPSRC residency criteria click here.

Applicants who are classed as International for tuition fee purposes are NOT eligible for funding. International students interested in studying at the University of Exeter should search our funding database for alternative options.


Application deadline:10th January 2018
Value:3.5 year studentship: UK/EU tuition fees and an annual maintenance allowance at current Research Council rate. Current rate of £14,553 per year.
Duration of award:per year
Contact: Doctoral Collegepgrenquiries@exeter.ac.uk

How to apply

You will be required to upload the following documents:
•       CV
•       Letter of application outlining your academic interests, prior research experience and reasons for wishing to
        undertake the project.
•       Transcript(s) giving full details of subjects studied and grades/marks obtained.  This should be an interim
        transcript if you are still studying.
•       If you are not a national of a majority English-speaking country you will need to submit evidence of your current
        proficiency in English.  For further details of the University’s English language requirements please see

The closing date for applications is midnight (GMT) on Wednesday 10 January 2018.  Interviews will be held at the University of Exeter in late February 2018.

If you have any general enquiries about the application process please email: pgrenquiries@exeter.ac.uk.
Project-specific queries should be directed to the supervisor.

During the application process, the University may need to make certain disclosures of your personal data to third parties to be able to administer your application, carry out interviews and select candidates.  These are not limited to, but may include disclosures to:

• the selection panel and/or management board or equivalent of the relevant programme, which is likely to include staff from one or more other HEIs;
• administrative staff at one or more other HEIs participating in the relevant programme.

Such disclosures will always be kept to the minimum amount of personal data required for the specific purpose. Your sensitive personal data (relating to disability and race/ethnicity) will not be disclosed without your explicit consent.