Topic outline

  • The course starts on 12.1.2023

    First lecture is on Thursday 12.1. at 12:15 - 14:00

    First exercise is on Monday 16.1. at 12:15 - 14:00

    Mode of teaching: All lectures and exercises are organized physically in Otaniemi. Lecture recordings will be made available after each lecture. 

    The course book is O'Hayre, R., Cha, S. W., Prinz, F. B., & Colella, W. (2016). Fuel cell fundamentals. John Wiley & Sons (3rd edition). The book is available as an E-book via Aalto library. (Require VPN connection for remote access)

    Course Staff:

    Dr. Janne Halme
    University Lecturer, Docent, New Energy Technologies group, Department of Applied Physics
    - Responsible teacher, coordinates the course
    - Lectures 1 - 4 and 5b, exam, team project work topics

    Dr. Prof. Imran Asghar
    Professor at Hubei University; Academy Research Fellow, Docent, New Energy Technologies group, Department of Applied Physics
    - Lecture 5a, 9a

    Sanaz Zarabi Golkhatmi
    Doctoral researcher, New Energy Technologies group, Department of Applied Physics
    - Labwork

    Axel Savikko
    Research assistant, New Energy Technologies group, Department of Applied Physics
    - Exercises and homework

    Guest lecturers
    - Invited speakers from industry and academia

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    • You are a(n) Student

    - The content from the book chapters corresponding to each lecture is detailed in the essential learning content pdf on the Materials page.

    - The course book is available as an E-book via Aalto library. (Requires VPN connection for remote access)

    - For best learning, and to facilitate discussion in the online lecture, kindly read those chapter parts before each lecture.

    - To facilitate flexible progression in the course, the folders below include lecture slides and recordings for lectures L1-5 from the 2021 course. They will be replaced with new versions as the course progresses, however, significant changes are not expected.

    - The lecture slides may be subject to updates before each lecture

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    Evaluation of the homework

    • 2 p. = Correct answer with correct justifications, i.e. explanations, derivations, and/or calculations given, OR, correct justifications, e.g. calculations, but due to a few small mistakes the final answer is incorrect, and could not be obviously recognized to be so, based on the core learning content of the course.
    • 1 p. = Good effort, where the course content has been used mostly correctly, but something has gone wrong or a final solution has not been reached. OR: only part of the homework has been done and is correct.
    • 0 p. = No return, close to blank return, or it can be clearly seen that the course content, for example the book, has not been utilized, resulting in incorrect solution. 

    Passing the course requires seven homework assignments (HW1-6 below, and HW7 Pre-lab assignment) being accepted with 1 – 2 points. An extra homework assignment will be made available for those who miss one homework.

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    The lab work has two parts:

    Part 1: Preparation of a solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) electrolyte, Gadolinium doped Ceria (GDC), with powder press method and determination of its porosity. 

    Part 2: Characterization of a conventional three-layered SOFC with IV and EIS measurements.

    In the 1st part, you will see the electrolyte material of a SOFC's electrolyte studied in the New Energy Technologies group and learn how to make a small electrolyte pellet used in research. You will also learn how to determine the porosity of powder pellets before / after the sintering step. The practical material and fabrication requirements and practical challenges in the electrolyte preparation will be discussed. 

    In the 2nd part, you will see a SOFC test set-up and measure a small SOFC. You will see the lab facilities required for fuel cell operation and research, and learn how a SOFC is operated. You will learn how to measure the fuel cell IV curve and impedance spectrum, and their interpretation. 

    Instructions for the lab-session

    Submit the pre-lab assignment below before your lab work session.

    We will provide you a ”fill in the blanks” type note sheet at the beginning of the session that you will fill during the lab session. If you are not able to come to the session you signed in, send an email to us, and we will discuss the situation.

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    The instructions and topics for the group project work are below. You can form a team of 2 - 3 persons by yourself.

    The project work is an alternative to the exam. You may choose the project work or the exam based on your preference. We recommend the project work as a more active team learning mode.

    If you have difficulties finding or forming a team, post a message on the discussion group below, and tell which topics you would be most interested in.

    Please register your project team below.

    Grading of the project work presentations

    The total grade of the project work is the weighted average from the three presentations, with the following weights:

    • Progress presentation 20 %
    • Dress-rehearsal presentation 30 %
    • Final presentation 50 %

    Due dates
    • 3.5. Progress presentation
    • 17.5. Dress-rehearsal presentation
    • 31.5. Final presentation 
    Submitting presentations

    All the presentations are only submitted in the Assignments below as links to the Panopto videos recorded independently by each group.
    There will be no presentation sessions, physical nor online, for any of presentations.

    Also, you do not need to submit the presentation slides. Just the link to the Panopto video.
    Note: please make sure you set the sharing settins of the Panopto video so that I can view them. The recomended setting is "Your organization (unlisted)". See below.


    Progress (20%)
    Dress-reh (30%)
    Final (50%)
    Total (100%)
    Team 1
    3 3 4
    Team 2
    3 4 4
    Team 3
    4 4 4
    Team 4
    5 3.5 4
    Team 5
    4.5 4.5
    Team 6
    3 4 4
    Team 7
    4.5 5 4
    Team 8
    2 4 4
    Team 9
    4 4.5 5
    Team 10
    4 4 4.5
    Team 11
    2.5 4.5 4
    Team 12
    4 3.5 4
    Team 13
    5 4 5
    Team 14
    4.5 3 4.5


    Feedback on the presentations is given in video form via Panopto.
    • Teams with presentation grade 3 or higher received feedback in a joint video (link below). Please find your feedback among the other. They were recorded in the ascending order of the team number.
    • Teams with grades less than 3 received individual feedback by email.

    Dress rehearsal presentation feedback

  • Passing the course requires either taking the exam OR doing the group project work.

    About the exam

    Scope of the exam

    • Lecture slides of all the lectures
    • The sections of the course book (O'Hayre et al., 2016) as listed in the pdf file on page "Materials"
    • Exercise and homework model solutions

    Type of the exam

    The exam has five questions, including at least one of each kind listed below.

    • Brief explanations of key concepts of the course (e.g. exchange current density, area specific resistance, etc.)
    • A short essay question on some key topical part of the course
    • A calculation problem selected from the exercises or homework
    • A new calculation problem

    Calculators are allowed with their memory cleared.


    A list of most important equations will be published in the page "Materials". Many of these equations capture the most essential features of the fuel cell operation, and therefore the sections where they are derived and discussed are among the most essential content of the course and therefore worth reading carefully. It is expected in the exam that you understand the meaning of these equations and the quantities in them, can explain their their relation to the material properties and fuel cell operation, and can use them for calculations on the fuel cell and fuel cell system performance. These are key equations that you are expected to know by heart in the exam. Other equations from the book will be given in the exam if needed.

  • The course book is O'Hayre, R., Cha, S. W., Prinz, F. B., & Colella, W. (2016). Fuel cell fundamentals. John Wiley & Sons (3rd edition). The book is available as an E-book via Aalto library.

    Other supporting materials are provided as needed.

    Some online resources about fuel cell technology and applications:

  • Passing the course requires:

    •Homeworks passed (HW1-7)
    •Labwork report passed
    •Exam OR group project work passed

    Evaluation and contributions to the course grade

    •homework (30 %)
    •labwork report (30%)
    •exam OR project work (40 %)


    •exam (100 %) (in this case the above passing requirements for homework and labwork do not apply) 

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