34624 - Innovative Electrical Technologies M

Course Unit Page


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

Affordable and clean energy Industry, innovation and infrastructure Sustainable cities

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

The course aims to deepen the knowledge of basic and innovative technologies in the field of electricity production, storage and transport, with particular emphasis on photovoltaics, fuel cells, batteries and superconductors. At the end of the course the student, besides the knowledge of the aforementioned technologies, is able to design simple photovoltaic systems, energy storage and high-temperature superconducting cables.

Course contents

I Applications of Nanotechnologies in electric and energy engineering
1 . Nanostructured materials: main methods of synthesis, characterization of the properties, polymer / lamellar silicates, carbon nanotubes
2 . Outline of the main applications of nanostructured materials in the field of energy: batteries, fuel cells, photovoltaic panels.

II Photovoltaic energy production
1 . Photovoltaic effect. Main technologies in the field of photovoltaics: silicon cells (monocrystalline, polycrystalline, amorphous) thin film solar cells, organic cells.
2 . Design criteria of stand-alone and grid-connected photovoltaic system and connection to the grid. Examples of design by using a commercial software.

III Electrochemical energy storage
1 . Principles of operation of batteries: pile of Volta and Daniell, polarization and reversibility
2 . Battery specifications: voltage, capacity and their dependence on design factors.
3 . Primay and Secondary Batteries : acid accumulators (fundamental electrochemical reactions, gassing and gas recombination, characteristics of lead-acid cells ); alkaline batteries (type, electrochemical reactions, fundamental characteristics of Ni-Cd cells, sealed batteries), secundary batteries for automotive.
4 . Innovative batteries: zinc / air cells, Zebra, lithium- ion and lithium polymer.

IV Fuel Cells
1 . Principles of operation of the cell, the effect of operating parameters on performance.
2 . Types of cells ( AFC, PEMFC, DMFC, PAFC , MCFC and SOFC) and applications.
3 . Main methods of hydrogen production (electrolysis and reforming).

V Superconductor components
1 . General aspects of superconductivity: history, macroscopic properties, phenomenology of superconductors, superconducting type I, critical temperature, critical field, critical current, critical frequency and correlations, intermediate state and mixed state, type II superconductors, London theory , Ginnzburg -Landau and BCS theories, superconductors and real phenomena (pinning).
2 . Superconducting oxides - a new class of materials for electrical engineering: superconducting materials for electrical applications, crystal structure and methods of preparation, YBCO and BSCCO, configuration of the superconducting components for energy applications.
3 . Methods for electromagnetic characterization of superconductors: measurement of critical current, measure of magnetization and hysteresis loop. Laboratory exercises.
4 . Applications in the energy sector: different types of applications (MRI, current limiters, SMES, motors and transformers, superconducting cables ).


E-book (free) of the course: D. Fabiani, Innovative Electrical Technologies for Electrical and Energy Engineers, 2019.

Slides projected in the classroom.

Books recommended for in-depth analysis:

  • J. K. Nelson (ed.), Dielectric Polymer Nanocomposites, Springer, 2010
  • R. A. Huggins, Advanced Batteries, Springer, 2008.
  • V. Shmidt, P. Müller, A. V. Ustinov, The physics of superconductors: introduction to fundamentals and applications, Springer, 1997
  • J. Poortmans, V. Arkhipov, Thin film solar cells: fabrication, characterization and applications, Wiley, 2007

Teaching methods

The course consists of

1) lectures in classroom;

2) training on design of a phovoltaic plant, storage system and fuel cell by using commercial softwares;

3) laboratory demonstrations on superconductors, batteries and photovoltaic cells.

Assessment methods

Achievements will be assessed by the means of a final exam. This is based on an analytical assessment of the "expected learning outcomes" described above.

In order to properly assess such achievement, the examination consists of a written/oral session with 3 questions on topics of the course, to ascertain the knowledge of the student and the ability to apply such knowledge in simple practical problems. The first question is a written theme that must be done in 1 hour without the help of notes or books. The other two questions asked by the teacher are instead discussed orally. Each question is given a score from 0 to 11. In order to pass the exam successfully, the score received in each single question must be higher than 5. The final grade is given by the sum of the scores obtained in the three questions. If the final grade is greater than 31, the LODE is awarded.

To obtain a passing grade, students are required to at least demonstrate a knowledge of the key concepts of the subject, particularly regarding protections against indirect and direct contacts in electric distribution networks, some ability for critical application and an acceptable use of technical Language.

Higher grades will be awarded to students who demonstrate an organic understanding of the subject, a high ability for critical application, and a clear and concise presentation of the contents.

A failing grade will be awarded if the student shows knowledge gaps in key-concepts of the subject, in particular on energy storage, superconductivity and photovoltaic systems, as well as inappropriate use of language, and/or logic failures in the analysis of the subject.

Teaching tools

Didactic material will be provided online by the teacher on the website platform "virtuale.unibo.it". Click on the link regarding didactic material.

Commercial software on design of PV plants and storage systems will be used for training sessions, e.g. PV-SYST or similar.

Office hours

See the website of Davide Fabiani