Graduate School

Materials for electrochemical devices

This course is part of the programme:
Materials (Third Level)

Objectives and competences

The main objective of the course is to give students theoretical and practical knowledge in the field of electrochemical conversion and storage of energy. Understanding electrochemistry is the basis for understanding electrocatalysis and batteries. The general understanding of low-carbon technologies in the context of sustainable development will be emphasized. The discussed topics are complemented by a number of practical examples and excursion. Students will prepare a seminar on a chosen subject within the scope of the course.

With the acquired knowledge, students will have an insight into the sustainable technologies of the future. This is useful both for basic research, for engineers, and for general education.



Content (Syllabus outline)

  • Basics of electrochemistry
  • Basics of electrocatalysis
  • Principles of the operation of different types of electrochemical reactors
  • Operation of fuel cells and electrolyzers with a proton exchange membrane (PEM)
  • Synthesis of electrocatalysts
  • Stability and activity of electrocatalysts
  • Materials for electrochemical sensors
  • Foundations of hydrogen economy
  • Fuel cell vehicles and other usages
  • Principles of operation of advanced battery systems
  • Selected battery applications and outlook for their future development (pros and cons)
  • Experimental techniques for the characterization of the materials used for conversion and storage of energy and their performance (potentiostat, electron microscopy, X-ray powder diffraction, ...)
  • Introduction of the most important global research groups and industry
  • Presentation of important global recent achievements and trends in the last year
  • Tour of the laboratories at the National Institute of Chemistry

Intended learning outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding:

Students will be introduced to the principles and functioning of various electrochemical energy conversion and storage systems.

Physical and chemical phenomena within the electrochemical reactors such as the fuel cell and the battery will be explained in detail.

Students will be able to assess what materials are being used for these purposes. They will be able to choose the appropriate characterization techniques for an in-depth study of these materials, and at the same time to choose the right materials for the construction of energy conversion and storage devices.

They will learn how to assess the correct working conditions for certain applications of these devices.

The acquired knowledge will serve them for independent work in laboratories or industrial plants.



*Bard, »Electrochemical Methods: Fundamentals and Applications« Wiley,

*Bagotsky »Fundamentals of Electrochemistry, 2nd Edition« Wiley,

W. Vielstich, A. Lamm, H. A. Gasteiger, »Handbook of Fuel Cells: Fundamentals, Technology, and Applications«, 4 volumes, J. Wiley & Sons, Chicester, 2003,

*Katsounaros »Electrocatalysis for the Hydrogen Economy« Springer


*Mark Debe, Electrocatalyst approaches and challenges for automotive fuel cells, Nature, 2012, 486, 43–51

*Hubert A.GasteigerShyam S.KochaBhaskarSompalliFrederick T.Wagner, Activity benchmarks and requirements for Pt, Pt-alloy, and non-Pt oxygen reduction catalysts for PEMFCs, 2005, 56, 1–2, 10, 9-35

*Vojislav R. Stamenkovic, Ben Fowler, Bongjin Simon Mun, Guofeng Wang, Philip N. Ross, Christopher A. Lucas, Nenad M. Marković, Improved Oxygen Reduction Activity on Pt3Ni(111) via Increased Surface Site Availability, Science, 2007, 315, 5811,. 493-497

*Ioannis Katsounaros, Serhiy Cherevko, Aleksandar R. Zeradjanin, Karl J. J. Mayrhofer, Oxygen Electrochemistry as a Cornerstone for Sustainable Energy Conversion: Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2014, 53, 102 – 121

*Nejc Hodnik, Gerhard Dehm, Karl Mayrhofer. Importance and challenges of electrochemical in situ liquid cell electron microscopy for energy conversion research. Accounts of chemical research. 2016, 49, iss. 9, 2015-2022

*Gröger, O., Gasteiger, H.A., Email Author, Suchsland, J.-P., Review-Electromobility: Batteries or fuel cells?, Journal of the Electrochemical Society, 2015, 162, 14, A2605-A2622

*Antonino Salvatore Aricò, Peter Bruce, Bruno Scrosati, Jean-Marie Tarascon & Walter van Schalkwijk, Nanostructured materials for advanced energy conversion and storage devices. Nature Materials. 2005, 4, 366–377

*J-M Tarascon, Michel Armand, Issues and challenges facing rechargeable lithium batteries, Nature. 2011, 414, 359–367


Oral exam. Project (written, oral and defense) (60/40)

Lecturer's references

Prof. dr. Goran Dražić (h=29) is heading an Electron microscopy and catalysis group at Department for materials chemistry at National Institute of Chemistry, Ljubljana, Slovenia. He is a full professor at the Jožef Stefan International Postgraduate School where he is lecturing from 2005 in the field of Transmission Electron Microscopy. He obtained a PhD degree in Chemistry from University of Ljubljana, Faculty for Chemistry and Chemical technology in 1990. As a postdoc he studied SiC hot corrosion at Forschungscentrum Jülich in Germany.

Main areas of his research are the development and application of scanning transmission electron microscopy and spectroscopies at atomic level for the study of modern inorganic materials and the research and development of catalyst materials for photocatalysis and oxygen reduction reaction (fuel cells). His bibliography contains more than 210 scientific papers published in international peer-review journals, more than 40 invited lectures and 10 book chapters. He was awarded with the Zois recognition for important scientific achievements in the field of Electron microscopy in 2000.

University course code: 3MAi08

Year of study: 1




  • Lectures: 30 hours
  • Exercises: 30 hours
  • Individual work: 210 hours

Course type: elective

Languages: english, slovene

Learning and teaching methods:
lectures, laboratory visits, presentation of the project to other students, discussion of published articles from selected topics