Harnessing electricity

Nikos Daniil

Nikos Daniil (PhD 2012-) is studying the behaviour of batteries in electric vehicles to help engineers improve their designs, hopefully resulting in the increased use of the vehicles and lessened CO2 emissions.

‘As our lives are increasingly affected by climate change, governments and industries are investing money into new technologies to reduce CO2 emissions. Transport is a sector that traditionally depends almost entirely on fossil fuels. One of the most promising ways to reduce, or even eliminate, this dependence is to increase the level of electrification by developing hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs).

‘Although this technology is already in use, consumers remain sceptical. Limited performance and high purchase costs are drawbacks that prevent widespread use of these vehicles. Batteries are often blamed for these problems: their life is limited and their behaviour not easily predictable. My work is to study the batteries of electric vehicles and suggest methods to confront these weaknesses.

‘For me, this PhD is a unique opportunity to get involved with cutting-edge technology. As I am funded by alumni gifts and not an industrial sponsor, I have the freedom to take my research in the direction I find most interesting.

‘I will always be grateful for the generosity of alumni who made my PhD happen: living costs and tuition fees are expenses I definitely could not afford alone.

‘My PhD isn’t just an extra qualification – it is a whole chapter in my life, and an invaluable experience. I do not know what will be next for me, but I am looking forward to the moment when I complete my research and see my work being used in industry.’

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