MEPHEES – Nanostructured transition Metal Phosphides for Electrochemical Energy Storage


The widespread deployment of intermittent renewable energy depends critically on the development of energy storage technologies.Storing renewable energy in rechargeable batteries is one of few viable solutions. For large-scale deployment, however, the storage performance of batteries must be improved and costs reduced.

The MePhEES project aims to develop new nanostructured transition metal phosphides (TMPs) and investigate their electrochemical performance for use as anode materials in Lithium-ion/Sodium-ion batteries (LIBs/SIBs).

TMPs have high theoretical capacity, high electrical conductivity, and relatively low redox potential versus Li/Li+ or Na/Na+ compared to transition metal sulfides, fluorides, and oxides, and therefore hold substantial promise for improving Li and Na storage performance. The main objectives of this project include: (i) Synthesis of nickel phosphide (Ni-P) and cobalt phosphide (Co-P) nanostructures; (ii) Fabrication of carbon nanotube (CNT)/TMP nanocomposite electrodes; (iii) Investigation of Li/Na storage performance of synthesized TMP nanostructures as well as CNT/TMP nanocomposite electrodes in collaboration with UT Austin partner.

This project will provide invaluable training opportunities for postdoc researchers and PhD students, and also promote the involvement of Portuguese researchers in renewable energy-related projects which are traditionally not a dominant area of research in Portugal.

The proposed research falls within the scope of “CoLab Emerging Technologies Research” – “Nanotechnology” and the scientific areas defined in the context of AIR Center – “Clean Energy Tech”.

Title Nanostructured transition Metal Phosphides for Electrochemical Energy Storage
Reference UTAP-EXPL/CTE/0008/2017
Scientific Area Nanotechnologies
Funding 99 865,00€
Leading Institution Laboratório Ibérico Internacional de Nanotecnologias (INL)
Participating Institutions The University of Austin at Texas (UT Austin)
Universidade de Aveiro (UA)
Duration 16 months
Begin date 1st November, 2018
End date 15th February, 2020
Key Words Transition metal phosphide, Nanostructure, Electrochemical energy Storage Battery

Project Team

Lifeng Liu

Principal Investigator in Portugal

Guihua Yu

Principal Investigator in Austin


"The Portuguese teams will prepare transition metal phosphide (TMP) nanostructures and carbon nanotubes/TMP composites, and perform materials characterization, while the following work will be done at UT Austin: Investigate lithium/sodium storage performance of the synthesized Ni-P and Co- P nanostructures as well as the CNT/TMP nanocomposites; test assembled lithium-/sodium-ion cells using systematic electrochemical characterizations including cyclic voltammetry (CV), galvanostatic charge- discharge (CD) measurement and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) test; and rate capability and cycling stability tests."

Principal Investigators