New MSc course at ETE: Environmental Electrochemical Engineering

Published on
April 19, 2021

In spring 2021 ETE has started with a new yearly course, called Environmental Electrochemical Engineering. The 6-week morning course is aimed at MSc students from environmental sciences, biosystems engineering, biobased- and biotechnology sciences. It combines theoretical principles of the electrochemical technology and its practical applications. This combination makes the course unique. The first lectures have started mid-March for 60 students.

Electrochemical systems use electrical energy to influence chemical reactions at the electrodes, resulting in a wide variety of applications. These systems are the basis to generate or store energy, treat water, or produce chemicals. The last ten years research on electrochemical systems has resulted in a lot of knowledge how to apply these technologies effectively in environmental sciences and the industry. ‘The role of electrochemical systems in water treatment, resource recovery, and energy storage, has increased dramatically’, says course coordinator Jouke Dykstra. ‘This course effectively prepares students for research, and also fits in well with the demands of future employers, like knowledge institutes and the industry.’  

Deep understanding

The first 3 weeks of the course focus on the theoretical and technical aspects of electrochemical cells and electrode processes. This knowledge will subsequently be applied in a case study, where the feasibility of an electrochemical-based energy storage system for an airplane will be studied. ‘It is crucial that students first get a deep understanding how the technology exactly works’, Dykstra says. ‘That knowledge helps them to evaluate concrete and feasible applications.’

Case study

The second half of the course will focus on the principles and technological applications of electrochemical systems in resource recovery, like energy recovery, (waste) water treatment, desalination, and bio-electrochemistry, where microorganisms play an additional role in treating wastewater. This knowledge will be applied in a case study, where a bio-electrochemical system will be evaluated to recover ammonia from waste water.

Unique combination

The lectures and student guidance will be provided by 6 lecturers from Wageningen UR and 3 guest lecturers. ‘The signals we get so far from students is that the course is tough, but very interesting’, Dykstra says. ‘The unique combination of theoretical principles and application in existing technologies gives an added value that is highly relevant.’