Fuel Cells in Energy Technology

Module number: PH2068

Duration: 1 Semester

Recurrence: Summer semester

Language: English

Number of ECTS: 5


Professor in charge: PD Dr. Werner Schindler

Amount of work

Class attendance. 60

Private study: 90

Total: 150

Course work and exam formalities

written exam, 90 min.


1. Global energy issues and the role of fuel cells in scenario

2. Principles of fuel cells

3. Overview of different types of fuel cells

4. Thermodynamic and electrochemical fundamentals related to fuel cells: equilibrium voltages (Nernst equation), conversion effiencies

5. Fudamentals of electrocatalysis, electrode kinetics (Butler-Volmer relation), current-voltage curves of fuel cells

6. Overview of applications of fuel cells (space, military, mobile etc.)

7. Anode and cathode reactions in fuel cells

8. Polymer electrolyte fuel cells

9. Direct methanol fuel cells and direct alcohol fuel cells

10. Solid oxide fuel cells; reformation processes; direct fuel cells

11. Stationary applications of fuel cells.

12. Automotive and transport applications of fuel cells

13. Production and storage of hydrogen in a hydrogen economy

Learning outcome

After participation in the module the student

1. is able to explain the thermodynamic and electrochemical fundamentals of fuel cells

2. can discuss the pro and cons of various fuel cell types

3. understands the environmental and economic issues related to fuel cells (e.g. efficiency, necessary infrastructure for fuel cells based economies).


A basic knowledge of physical chemistry (thermodynamics, kinetcs) and electrochemistry is recommended.


Powerpoint presentations and handouts


K. Kordesch, G. Simader: Fuel Cells and Their Applications, VCH, Weinheim 1996

J. Larminie, A. Dicks: Fuel Cell Systems Explained, John Wiley, West Sussex, UK, 2000

R. A. Zahoransky: Energietechnik, 4. Auflage Vieweg/Teubner, Stuttgart, 2009