Fuel Cells in Energy Technology

Module PH2068

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.

Basic Information

PH2068 is a semester module in English language at Master’s level which is offered in summer semester.

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

  • General catalogue of special courses
  • Specific catalogue of special courses for Applied and Engineering Physics
  • Specific catalogue of special courses for condensed matter physics

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 75 h 5 CP

Responsible coordinator of the module PH2068 is Werner Schindler.

Content, Learning Outcome and Preconditions


1. Global energy issues and the role of fuel cells in this scenario 2. Principles of fuel cells 3. Overview of di erent types of fuel cells 4. Thermodynamic and electrochemical fundamentals related to fuel cells: equilib- rium voltages (Nernst equation), conversion e ciencies 5. Fundamentals 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 reactions in fuel cells (hydrogen, methanol, ethanol oxidation) 8. Cathode reaction in fuel cells (oxygen reaction) 9. Polymer electrolyte fuel cells 10. Direct methanol fuel cells and direct alcohol fuel cells 11. Solid oxide fuel cells; reformation processes; direct fuel cells 12. Stationary applications of fuel cells 13. Automotive and transport applications of fuel cells 14. Production and storage of hydrogen in a hydrogen economy

Learning Outcome

After participation in the module the student is able to: 1. Explain the thermodynamic and electrochemical fundamentals of fuel cells 2. Discuss the pro and cons of the various fuel cell types 3. Discuss environmental and economic issues related to fuel cells (e.g. efficiency, necessary infrastructure for fuel cell based economies)


No preconditions in addition to the requirements for the Master’s program in Physics.

Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature

Courses and Schedule

VU 4 Fuel Cells in energy technology Schindler, W. Mittwoch, 12:00–14:00
sowie Termine in Gruppen

Learning and Teaching Methods

lecture, exercises in individual and group work


practise sheets


1) K. Kordesch, G. Simader: Fuel Cells and Their Applications, VCH, Weinheim, 1996 2) J. Larminie, A. Dicks: Fuel Cell Systems Explained, John Wiley, West Sussex, UK, 2000 3) H. C.H. Hamann, W. Vielstich: Elektrochemie, Wiley{VCH, 4th Ed., Weinheim, 2005 4) R.A. Zahoransky: Energietechnik, 4. Au age, Vieweg/Teubner, Stuttgart, 2009

Module Exam

Description of exams and course work

In an oral exam the learning outcome is tested using comprehension questions and sample problems.

In accordance with §12 (8) APSO the exam can be done as a written test. In this case the time duration is 60 minutes.

Exam Repetition

There is a possibility to take the exam at the end of the semester. There is a possibility to take the exam in the following semester.

Condensed Matter

When atoms interact things can get interesting. Fundamental research on the underlying properties of materials and nanostructures and exploration of the potential they provide for applications.

Nuclei, Particles, Astrophysics

A journey of discovery to understanding our world at the subatomic scale, from the nuclei inside atoms down to the most elementary building blocks of matter. Are you ready for the adventure?


Biological systems, from proteins to living cells and organisms, obey physical principles. Our research groups in biophysics shape one of Germany's largest scientific clusters in this area.