Zahra Rana

Centre for Doctoral Training Doctoral Researcher



Electrochemical Innovation Lab
Department of Chemical Engineering
University College London
Torrington Place
London, WC1E 7JE
United Kingdom


Lead Supervisor

Professor Dan Brett 

Research Summary

Zahra graduated from the University of St Andrews in June 2017 with a Masters degree in Materials Chemistry before joining the Centre for Doctoral Training in Fuel Cells and their Fuels in October 2017.

Based in the Electrochemical Innovation Lab at UCL and under the supervision of Prof Dan Brett and Dr Paul Shearing, she is currently investigating new catalysts for PEMFCs with the aim of reducing or eliminating platinum loading weights.

She is funded through the EPSRC CDT in Fuel Cells and their fuels: EP/L015749/1.


MChem (Hons) Materials Chemistry with External Placement, University of St Andrews, 2017.


Zahra graduated from her MChem degree in 2017. During her course, she spent a year working at a research institute ‘SINTEF Materials and Chemistry’ in Trondheim, Norway. Whilst there, she investigated degradation mechanisms in PEMFCs.

For her Masters project, Zahra worked in Professor John Irvine’s ‘Energy and Materials’ group where she studied in-situ x-ray diffraction from Li ion batteries to understand the structural changes that take place within the cell during cycling. 


Zahra is looking into synthesizing new catalysts for the ORR reaction in PEMFCs. Her main area of interest is platinum-free electrocatalysts but she is also involved in research related to reducing platinum loading weights in conjunction with the Graphene Flagship project and also the use of 2D materials.

Her catalysis work involves synthesising material, making it into a catalyst ink for RDE experiments and eventually scaling up for use in a fuel cell system. 

Other activities

Zahra is involved with UCL’s fuel cell initiative ‘UCell’. UCell engages and educates the public on electricity production from hydrogen by organising school visits, festival demonstrations and public lectures.