Stephenson Institute for Renewable Energy at the University of Liverpool


Research in the Energy and Catalysis group covers a wide variety of topics, ranging from green chemistry, asymmetric catalysis, photocatalysis, electrocatalysis, catalytic reduction and oxidation, hydrocarbon and biomass conversion, solar fuels, batteries, and nanocontainers, to in-situ spectroscopy and computation. Significant impacts have been made in fine chemical synthesis and commodity chemical manufacturing, including contributions to Lucite’s commercialization of the ALPHA process, the largest catalytic process for methyl methacrylate production, and BP’s Avada process for the production of a widely used solvent ethyl acetate, and the discovery of the Iridicycle series of catalysts which have been made commercially available by companies such as Strem. The group have extensive links with industry. 

Energy is one of seven high priority research themes at the University of Liverpool. The Stephenson Institute for Renewable Energy is a centre for innovation in energy research and knowledge exchange with external partners. The Institute comprises twelve cross-disciplinary research groups.

We have potential projects in the following research areas:

  • Transient spectroscopy of photocatalytic systems (Cowan)
  • Catalytic mechanisms and in situ high pressure NMR (Iggo)
  • Polyoxometalates as acid and oxidation catalysts (Kozhevnikov)
  • Multifunctional heterogeneous catalysts for the conversion of renewable feedstocks to value-added chemicals and fuels (Kozhevnikov)
  • Electrochemical catalysis and electrochemical fuel cells (Nichols)
  • Activation of unstrained C-C bonds by soluble metal complexes (Sergeev)
  • low-temperature nitrogen activation on multiferroics (Teobaldi)
  • Side-selective photo-oxidation/reduction in inorganic open-ended nanotubes (Teobaldi)
  • Green catalytic methodologies with focus on hydrogenation and oxidation (Xiao)
  • Asymmetric catalysis with focus on cheap non-toxic catalysts (Xiao)
  • Catalysis for biomass transformations (Lopez-Sanchez)
  • Photocatalysis for fuel production, methane and CO2 activation (Lopez-Sanchez)

To learn more details including studentships on any of the directions above, please contact Prof Xiao or any of the other research cluster members or visit the studentship opportunities web page.