MAE 410/510 Fuel Cell Technology

 Spring 2004

Course Syllabus


IMPORTANT:  Complete Course Syllabus can be download here. [Information below is just part of it]

Please download the Tentative Course Schedule

Textbook: Fuel Cell Systems Explained by James Larminie and Andrew Dicks, Second Edition, John Wiley, New York, 2003, ISBN 0-470- 84857-X.

Course Descriptions:

Fuel cell technology is an emerging technology for electric power generation for stationary, mobile and portable power applications. Fuel cell, the heart of this technology, is an electrochemical device in which hydrogen and oxygen react in the presence of catalyst and produces electricity, heat and water. The major advantages of fuel cell systems are higher energy conversion efficiencies, low emissions and negligible noise. In this course, after fuel cell technology basics and operating principles, fuel cell performance will be briefly described from energy and thermodynamic viewpoints. Subsequently, the following major types of fuel cells will be discussed: polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell (PEMFC), Direct methanol Fuel Cells (DMFC), Alkaline Fuel Cells (AFC), phosphoric acid fuel cell (PAFC), molten carbonate fuel cell (MCFC) and solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC). The emphasis will be the performance behavior, analysis and modeling. Subsequently, the balance of the fuel cell power plant, thermal system design and analysis will be discussed that affect the power generation. Finally, the components needed, issues related, and pertinent analysis will be covered to delivering electric power generated from the fuel cell.

Course Prerequisites:   A first course in Thermodynamics and Chemistry.

Course Objectives: Provide thorough understanding of performance characteristics of fuel cell power plant and its components. Outline the performance and design characteristics and operating issues for various fuel cells. Discuss the design philosophy and challenges to make this power plant economically feasible. The design and analysis emphasis will be on the thermodynamics and electrochemistry. Thus at the successful end of the course, the students will have sufficient knowledge for working in a fuel cell industry or R&D organization.

Tentative Course Schedule: 


By the conclusion of this course, each student should

-Apply know-how of thermodynamics, electrochemistry, heat transfer, and fluid mechanics principles to design and analysis of this emerging technology.

-Have thorough understanding of performance behavior, operational issues and challenges for all major types of fuel cells.

-Identify, formulate, and solve problems related to fuel cell technology keeping in mind economic viability.

-Use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for design and analysis of innovative fuel cell systems.

-Understand the impact of this technology in a global and societal context.

-Develop enough skills to design systems or components of fuel cells.

-Be ready to begin a career as an engineer in companies developing fuel cell components and systems.





Main Page


Lecture Notes


Test & Exams


State University of New York at Buffalo Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department.

Copyright 2004.