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Photo of Prof Xiaohong Li

Prof Xiaohong Li

Professor and Chair of Energy Storage, Director of Global Development


Telephone: 01326 255769

Xiaohong received her BSc in Organic Chemistry in 1990 from Lanzhou University. After experience as an engineer/project manager for PetroChina Ltd, she returned to university to complete her MSc in Analytical Chemistry in 2000 and PhD in Physical Chemistry in 2003 from Lanzhou University and Peking University. Between 2003 and 2013, she had worked in the University of Southampton and appointed as a Senior Consulting Engineer in the Research Institute for Industry. Xiaohong is currently a professor and chair of energy storage in Renewable Energy Group and Director of Global Development (Renewable Energy Penryn) at the University of Exeter. 

Xiaohong’s research interests focus on energy conversion and storage, with an emphasis on battery electrode materials, anion exchange membrane (AEM) water electrolysers for hydrogen production, and nanoscale materials for electrocatalysis. She is currently the principal investigator at the University of Exeter side for a Horizon 2020 project of MELODY Membrane-free low cost high density redox flow battery and an EU Interreg 2 Seas project of E2C Electrons to high value Chemical products. She is the author of > 100 peer-reviewed journal papers including two book chapters and eight invited review papers in the area of redox flow battery (RFB) technology and AEM water electrolyser for hydrogen production. Xiaohong is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC) and a Fellow of The Higher Education Academy (FHEA), a member of Science Board of the EPSRC Energy Storage Supergen Hub, a board member of EPSRC Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Supergen Hub, and also a board member of British Standards Institution.


Google Scholar Citations




Research Interest

AEM Water Electrolyser for Hydrogen Production: Anion exchange membrane (AEM) water electrolysers have a great potential to achieve high efficiency in cost-competiveness because AEM are capable to employ non-precious metal catalysts and cheaper membranes. Xiaohong has 20 published papers on AEM in the area of catalyst development for hydrogen evolution and oxygen evolution reactions.

Membrane-free RFB for Energy Storage: Redox flow battery (RFB) is seen as a promising energy storage technology for grid-scale applications since RFBs possess advantages such as flexibility, mobility, fast response, safe operation, but not dependent on geographical factors and not involving enormous capital investment, in which, membrane-free RFB systems utilize single electrolyte and therefore no need for membranes. This feature enables system to simplify design and to reduce cost significantly. This novel approach has been her centered scientific interest since 2008. To date, Xiaohong has been involved in four large RFB projects and published > 20 research papers in the area.


For more, please visit the website of Energy Storage Research.


Supervision of PhD Student Research Project

Xiaohong’s research group is offering supervision of PhD research (and self-funded PhD students) in the areas of (if interested, please send your CV and research proposal to contact Xiaohong for discussion)

  • Battery electrode materials and engineering design
  • Nanomaterials for battery, supercapacitor, and catalyst study
  • Green hydrogen production from renewables via water electrolysis
  • Catalyst development of novel AEM water electrolyser cell for green hydrogen production for energy storage
  • Development of low cost membrane-free redox flow battery systems for energy storage
  • Recycling of lithium ion battery
  • Synthesis, characterisation and electrochemical testing of electrode materials for sodium ion batteries
  • If interested in applying China Scholarship Council PhD Scholarships with research area stated above or close, please contact me.  

Current PhD Studentship Opportunities


Research Projects


Teaching Modules

  • ENE3007 - Energy Storage Technology (module leader)
  • CSM1037 - Science for Energy Engineering (deputy module leader)
  • ENEM101 - Renewable Energy Systems (lecturer)
  • ENEM105 - Low Carbon Vehicles and Transport (lecturer)
  • CSMM432 - Economics, Energy & Environment (lecturer)
  • ENE3011 - Renewable Energy Third Year Dissertation (supervisor)
  • ENEM104 - Renewable Energy MSc Dissertation (supervisor)
  • CSMM402 - Industrial Placement Project (supervisor)