88376 - Technologies for Environmental Analysis and Electrochemical Energy Storage

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Quality education Affordable and clean energy Responsible consumption and production Climate Action

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

Description and applicability of the main technologies and sensors for environmental analysis. Spectroscopic, gas chromatographic, electrochemical etc. Applications of electrochemical energy storage / production systems. Introduction to electrochemical systems: thermodynamics and kinetics. Main techniques of characterization of electrochemical systems. Performance evaluation. Storage and conversion of energy. Batteries and Supercapacitors.

Course contents

The student will learn and understand the function and application of electrochemical systems for environmental analysis. The student will be able to compare the advantages and disadvantages of these electrochemical systems with various state-of-the-art technologies, such as spectroscopy and chromatography.

The student will learn about developments and applications of electrochemical energy storage (batteries and supercapacitors) systems, as well as, their positive influences on the environment. At the same time, the student will be tought to think about possible negative effects for the environment considering for instance raw material processing and device disposal/recycling. The student will be tought the main techniques to characterize electrochemical energy storage systems, to study battery materials and to evaluate battery performances.

The student will learn basic concepts of electrochemistry related to thermodynamics, kinetics, electrode reactions and mass transfer.

By giving a presentation the student will learn how to present and discuss on a selected scientific discussion related to the course content.


Knowledge and skills acquired in the following courses are required: Mathematics, Physics, Analytical Chemistry and Analytical Instrumental Chemistry. In particular, to successfully attend this class, the student should:

  • have basic knowledge on chromatography and spectroscopy as analytical tool
  • be able to create graphs and plot calibration curves
  • have knowledge on how to collect, store and prepare samples from air, soil/surfaces and water for analysis.
  • have basic knowledge on the electrochemical techniques conductometry and potentiometry


  • Discussion on the importance of environmental analysis in the context of low carbon technologies
  • Description on the main technologies and sensors for environmental analysis; selected case studies related to the production, disposal and recycling of electrochemical energy storage and conversion devices and materials.
  • Field measurements versus analyses in centralized laboratories.
  • Fundamentals of electrochemistry: thermodynamics, kinetics, electrode reactions, mass transfer (diffusion, migration, convection), electrochemical methods (e.g. voltammetric techniques, stripping analysis, modified electrodes) and (bio)sensor designs and production.
  • Electrochemical scanning probe microscopies.
  • Introduction to electrochemical power sources. Historical progress. Batteries and supercapacitors
  • Primary cells
  • Secondary cells.
  • Lithium batteries and post lithium technology. Materials.
  • Electrochemical characterization of batteries. Main analytical techniques for the characterization of these electrochemical systems.

The course is completed by one laboratory (practical) experience (4 hours) based on voltammetric techniques and one demonstration of Scanning Electrochemical Microscopy (SECM, 2 hours)



The following books are relevant and useful for the content of the course

  • Allen J. Bard, Larry R. Faulkner, "Electrochemical Methods: Fundamentals and Applications", Wiley, 2000.
  • R. M. Dell, D.A. Rand, "Understanding Batteries", The Royal Society of Chemistry, 2001.
  • B Scrosati and C. Vincent, "Modern Batteries", Butterworth-Heinemann, 2003.

Additional materials will be provided in the course and properly cited.

For the prerequisites section the student can refers to:

  • Harris, Quantitative Chemical Analysis, 9th ed., 2015
  • David Harvey, Modern Analytical Chemistry, McGraw-Hill Education, [https://www.bookdepository.com/publishers/McGraw-Hill-Education-Europe] 1999,which is freely available in the web: (last check 05 July 2019): http://dpuadweb.depauw.edu/harvey_web/eTextProject/AC2.1Files/AnalChem2.1.pdf

Teaching methods

Front lectures with one practical experience plus one laboratory demonstration of an electrochemical microscope will be offered. The course is complemented by examples related to industrial applications.

As concerns the practical experience of this course unit, all students must attend Module 1, 2 [https://www.unibo.it/en/services-and-opportunities/health-and-assistance/health-and-safety/online-course-on-health-and-safety-in-study-and-internship-areas] online, while Module 3 on health and safety is to be attended in class. Information about Module 3 attendance schedule is available on the website of the degree programme.

Assessment methods

The exam (single session, about 30 minutes) is composed of two parts:

a) Oral presentation on a selected topic learned during the course using 10-15 slides (15 points)

b) Oral exam (15 points).

Teaching tools

  • Lecture slides and other material useful for exam preparation are made available to the student electronically on the IOL platform.
  • Students take notes during the lessons (the teachers will use the blackboard/whiteboard).
  • Recent literature of impact will be provided and discussed.
  • Access to students with disabilities is provided

Office hours

See the website of Marco Giorgetti

See the website of Andreas Stephan Lesch