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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.

Module version of SS 2017

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

Whether the module’s courses are offered during a specific semester is listed in the section Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature below.

available module versions
SS 2022SS 2021SS 2020SS 2019SS 2018SS 2017SS 2011

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.

  • Specific catalogue of special courses for condensed matter physics
  • Specific catalogue of special courses for Applied and Engineering Physics
  • Complementary catalogue of special courses for nuclear, particle, and astrophysics
  • Complementary catalogue of special courses for Biophysics

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 in the version of SS 2017 was 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

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

The exam may be repeated at the end of the semester. There is a possibility to take the exam in the following semester.

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