Dr James Courtney

James Courtney

Contact details

School of Chemical
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

James Courtney a post-doctoral researcher within The Rees Group at the University of Birmingham working with The Centre for Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Research and The Centre for Electrochemical Research. James is developing electrochemical engineering in energy and is currently focused on the applications of impact electrochemistry and the recycling of critical materials.


James initially graduated in Chemistry from the University of Bath where he worked on the electrochemistry of Iron Haematite nanoparticles and researched Biological Fuel cells, supervised by Professor Frank Marken. Subsequently, moving to the University of Birmingham to study a Masters in Research within the department of Chemical Engineering; studying the electrochemistry, reaction kinetics and commercial use of recycled Platinum group metal nanoparticles within Biofilms, supervised by Professor Lynne Macaskie. James has also completed research projects into the electrochemistry of free-cell supported bio-nanocatalysts, the electrochemistry of the Oxygen Reduction Reaction (ORR), the fabrication of Gas Diffusion Electrodes (GDEs) and Catalyst Coated Membranes (CCMs) using the inkjet, screen-printing and autonomous spraying techniques as well as novel electrochemical investigation techniques within proton exchange membrane fuel cells. 

James then completed his PhD at the University of Birmingham in the study of redox active species within liquid catholyte proton exchange membrane fuel cells and the novel electrochemistry exhibited within this environment as a viable and commercially advantageous solution to conventional proton exchange membrane fuel cells.

Since completing his PhD, James has worked within academia and industry, conducting research and managing innovation teams as well as establishing and leading a design collective into sustainable solutions in design. A keen surfer, environmentalist and doer, he is constantly looking for collaborations and partnerships to solve the world's issues.

Other activities

James spends most of his free time either surfing or pointing a camera at things he considers good to look at. He has represented both the University of Bath and the University of Birmingham at the National Surfing Championships, has captained the University of Bath Men’s first Lacrosse team and has won photography competitions. For a look at some of his work please visit his Flickr page, (http://www.flickr.com/photos/adventuresofanelectrochemist/).

 James is a self confessed geek and has many scientific interests. His research interests include;

  • Redox active species within liquid catholyte proton exchange membrane fuel cells
  • Electrocatalytic effects of cluster molecules
  • Oxygen Reduction via mediated electron transfer
  • Biologically recycled platinum group metal nanocatalysts
  • Fabrication techniques for GDE and CCM production
  • Novel electrochemical investigation techniques within Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells

James is a keen engineering ‘hacker’ and produces many homemade scientific, engineering and photography equipment, he is currently developing ‘hacks’ to create,

  • Desktop ‘breeze’ turbines for demonstration purposes
  • Demonstration Proton Exchange Membrane fuel cells
  • Designer and ‘exotic’ surface electrodes
  • Underwater housings for DSLRs

As previously mentioned if James can’t be found in the lab he can probably be found trying to get ‘the shot’ with his camera, his photographic interests include,

  • Scientific Experimental set-ups
  • Laboratory set-ups
  • Composite photographic images to explain research
  • Composite model images