Materials for electrochemical devices

This course is part of the programme
Doctoral study programme Materials

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.




  • 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.


Books: * Allen J. Bard et al., Electrochemical Methods: Fundamentals and Applications, 3rd Edition, Wiley, 2022. Catalogue E-version * Vladimir S. Bagotsky, Fundamentals of Electrochemistry, 2nd Edition, Wiley, 2005. Catalogue E-version * W. Vielstich, A. Lamm, H. A. Gasteiger, »Handbook of Fuel Cells: Fundamentals, Technology, and Applications«, 4 volumes, J. Wiley & Sons, Chicester, 2003. E-version * Ioannis Katsounaros and Marc Koper, Electrocatalysis for the Hydrogen Economy, Electrochemical Science for a Sustainable Society, Springer, 2017, pp 23–50

Articles: * Mark Debe, Electrocatalyst approaches and challenges for automotive fuel cells, Nature, 2012, 486, 43–51 * Hubert A. Gasteiger et al., Activity benchmarks and requirements for Pt, Pt-alloy, and non-Pt oxygen reduction catalysts for PEMFCs, 2005, 56, 1–2, 10, 9-35 E-version * 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 and Karl J. J. Mayrhofer et al., Oxygen Electrochemistry as a Cornerstone for Sustainable Energy Conversion: Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2014, 53, 102 – 121 * Nejc Hodnik et al.,. 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 E-version * Leonard Moriau and Nejc Hodnik et al., Resolving the nanoparticles' structure-property relationships at the atomic level: a study of Pt-based electrocatalysts, iScience 2021, 24, 102102 E-version * 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 E-version * Anja Lončar and Nejc Hodnik et al., Angewandte Chemie International Edition 2022, 61, 14, e202114437 E-version * Stefan Popović and Nejc Hodnik et al., Stability and Degradation Mechanisms of Copper‐Based Catalysts for Electrochemical CO2 Reduction, Angewandte Chemie International Edition 2020, 132, 35, 14844-14854 * 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

Assoc. prof. dr. Nejc Hodnik (h=15) is heading an Electrocatalysis group at Department of Catalysis in Chemical Engineering at National Institute of Chemistry, Ljubljana, Slovenia. He obtained his PhD from the Faculty of Chemistry in Chemical Engineering at the University of Ljubljana. During his doctorate, he was employed as a young researcher at the National Institute of Chemistry under the mentorship of dr. Stanko Hocevar, who led the research on the topic of fuel cells. In 2014 he went to Düsseldorf, Germany, at the Max-Planck Institute to join prof. dr. Karl Mayrhofer group with prestigious individual Marie-Curie Scholarship (now Marie Skłodowska-Curie). In 2016, he returned to Slovenia and started working at the Department of Catalysis in Chemical Engineering at the National Institute of Chemistry. Among other projects, he obtained a postdoctoral project from the Slovenian research agency (ARRS) in and after that the ARRS supplementary ERC project. In 2019, he was named adjunct (associate) professor at the University of Nova Gorica, where he teaches in the doctoral program Materials (Level 3). His bibliography contains more than 48 scientific papers published in international peer-review journals, more than 10 invited lectures and one international patent and three patent international applications. In 2019, he was awarded a European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant.

Double passivation water based galvanic displacement method for reproducible gram scale production of high performance pt-alloy electrocatalysts,
Matija Gatalo, Marjan Bele, Francisco Ruiz‐Zepeda, Ervin Šest, Martin Šala, Ana Rebeka Kamšek, Nik Maselj, Timotej Galun, Nejc Hodnik, Miran Gaberšček,
Angewandte Chemie, 2019, vol. 58, 1-6,
IF 12,257

Atomically resolved anisotropic electrochemical shaping of nano-electrocatalyst,
Francisco Ruiz-Zepeda, Matija Gatalo, Andraž Pavlišič, Goran Dražić, Primož Jovanovič, Marjan Bele, Miran Gaberšček, Nejc Hodnik,
Nano Letters, 2019, 19, 8, 4919-4927,
IF 12,279

Methodology for Investigating Electrochemical Gas Evolution Reactions: Floating Electrode as a Means for Effective Gas Bubble Removal,
Primož Jovanovič, Kevin Stojanovski, Marjan Bele, Goran Dražić, Gorazd Koderman Podboršek, Luka Suhadolnik, Miran Gaberšček, Nejc Hodnik,
Analytical Chemistry, 2019, 91, 16, 10353-10356,,
IF 635

Electrochemical Dissolution of Iridium and Iridium Oxide Particles in Acidic Media: Transmission Electron Microscopy, Electrochemical Flow Cell Coupled to Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry, and X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy Study,
Primož Jovanovič, Nejc Hodnik, Francisco Ruiz-Zepeda, Iztok Arčon, Barbara Jozinović, Milena Zorko, Marjan Bele, Martin Šala, Vid Simon Šelih, Samo Hočevar, Miran Gaberšček,,
Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2017, 139, 12837-- - 12846,
IF 14.695

Platinum recycling going green via induced surface potential alteration enabling fast and efficient dissolution,
Nejc Hodnik, Claudio Baldizzone, George Polymeros, Simon Geiger, Jan-Philipp Grote, Serhiy Cherevko, Andrea Mingers, Aleksandar Zeradjanin, Karl J. J. Mayrhofer,
Nature Communications, 2016, vol. 7, no. 13164, 1-6,
IF 11,878