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Energy Science

Module PH0021 [AEP Expert 1]

This module handbook serves to describe contents, learning outcome, methods and examination type as well as linking to current dates for courses and module examination in the respective sections.

Module version of SS 2019 (current)

There are historic module descriptions of this module. A module description is valid until replaced by a newer one.

available module versions
SS 2019SS 2018SS 2016SS 2011

Basic Information

PH0021 is a semester module in German language at Bachelor’s level which is offered in summer semester.

This Module is included in the following catalogues within the study programs in physics.

  • Mandatory Modules in Bachelor Programme Physics (6th Semester, Specialization AEP)

If not stated otherwise for export to a non-physics program the student workload is given in the following table.

Total workloadContact hoursCredits (ECTS)
150 h 60 h 5 CP

Responsible coordinator of the module PH0021 is Katharina Krischer.

Content, Learning Outcome and Preconditions



  • Forms of energy, power, typical energy quantities
  • The quality of energy (entropie, exergy and anergy)
  • Energy conversion and efficiency
  • Energy resources and energy consumption

Thermodynamics of energy conversion

  • Power cycles (general considerations)
  • Steady state, steady flow systems  
  • Thermodynamic description of a power plant
  • Exergy analysis of power cycles and heat pumps

Fuel Cells

  • Mode of operation and general set-up
  • Thermodynamics of fuel cells
  • OVerview of the different types of fuel cells

Solar Radiation and solar thermal systems

  • Solar radiation
  • Concentration of solar radiation
  • Solar-thermal energy conversion
  • Flat collectors, heliostats and solar towers


  • Operation mode of a solar cell, efficiency and loss mechanisms
  • Design principles of solar cells
  • Current developments

Photosynthesis and Solar fuels

Learning Outcome

After participation in the module the student is able to:

  • Determine the energetic and exergetic efficiency of energy conversion processes
  • Perform a thermodynamic analysis of steady flow systems and apply it to the composents of vapor and gas power plants
  • Discuss the operation mode of fuel cells
  • Derive energy balance equation for solar thermal devices
  • Discuss mode of operation as well as maximum and real efficiencies of Si solar cells.


Basic knowledge in  thermodynamics and condensed matter physics

Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature

Courses and Schedule

VO 2 Energy Science Krischer, K. Wed, 10:00–12:00, PH HS3
Fri, 12:30–14:00, PH HS3
and singular or moved dates
UE 1 Exercise to Energy Science Maier, T. Salman, M.
Responsible/Coordination: Krischer, K.
dates in groups

Learning and Teaching Methods

The lecture will be held in a compact form in the first half of the summer semester.  Content of the lecture will be extended via tutorials in which worked examples will be presented and students will have the chance to discuss with their tutor.


Lecture: ex-cathedra teaching with blackboard and presentation
Tutorial: Discussion of weekly exrcises, additional explanations to the lectures


K. Krischer, K. Schönleber, Physics of Energy Conversion, De Gruyter 2015 (Lehrbuchsammlung, E-book)

E. Hahne, Technische Thermodynamik, Addison Wesley 2000 (Lehrbuchsammlung)
J. Larmine, A. Dicks, Fuel Cell Systems Explained, Wiley
P. Würfel, Physik der Solarzellen (neuere Auflage auf Englisch)

Module Exam

Description of exams and course work

There will be an oral exam of about 40 minutes duration. Therein the achievement of the competencies given in section learning outcome is tested exemplarily at least to the given cognition level using comprehension questions and sample calculations.

For example an assignment in the exam might be:

  • Explain the difference between first and second law efficiencies with the example of a heat pump.
  • Compare Ts diagrams of an ideal Rankine cycle and a Carnot cycle and discuss how the individual processes of the Rankine cycle are realized in a vapor power plant.
  • What determines the reversible cell voltage of a fuel cell and what are the main loss channels?
  • Derive an equivalent circuit for a solarthermal converter and determine the thermal efficiency from the corresponding balance equations.
  • Discuss with energy and exergy flow diagrams the energy conversion processes in a photovoltaic cell and explain the physics behind the loss mechanisms.

Participation in the tutorials is strongly recommended since the exercises prepare for the problems of the exam and rehearse the specific competencies.

Exam Repetition

The exam may be repeated at the end of the semester.

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