Module code: ENGM287

Module Overview

Electrochemical energy systems play an increasingly important role in our changing energy landscape, as they provide low-carbon alternatives to the current fossil fuel based systems. The development of these electrochemical energy systems is emergent. The training for next-generation engineers with adequate knowledge and skills in this area is highly demanded, to meet the requirement from industry, and lead the development of the future technologies. Consequently, the module intends to introduce to students the scientific fundamentals of the electrochemical systems, and the working principles of several different electrochemical systems including fuel cells, electrolysers, batteries and supercapacitors, to equip the students with knowledge of the electrochemical systems, and enable them to select suitable technologies for particular applications.

Module provider

Chemical and Process Engineering

Module Leader

CAI Qiong (Chm Proc Eng)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

JACs code: F110

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

Academic background in Chemistry, Physics, Engineering

Module content

Introduction to the fundamentals of electrochemical systems: basic concepts of electrochemical cells, electrochemical reactions, basic concepts of current, voltage and electrode potentials, Faraday’s laws, Nernst Equations, thermodynamics principles in electrochemical systems, basic description of the cycle life, energy density, power density of electrochemical cells

Introduction to fuel cells: working principle of fuel cells, polarisation curves in fuel cells, processes within fuel cells, resistances within fuel cells, different types of fuel cells, reactions and materials in different types of fuel cells.

Introduction to electrolysers: working principle of electrolysers, hydrogen production, current-voltage curve, processes within electrolysers, resistances within fuel cells, different types of electrolysers, reactions and materials in different types of electrolysers

Introduction to batteries: working principle of batteries, polarisation, different types of batteries including primary batteries and secondary batteries, fundamentals of charge-discharge processes.

Introduction to Li-ion batteries: Availability of Lithium, components and materials in Li-ion batteries, the working mechanisms of a number of typical materials such as graphite, lithium cobalt oxide, lithium iron phosphates, electrolyte, the development status of Li-ion batteries, recycling of lithium.

Introduction to supercapacitors: working principle of supercapacitors, components and materials in supercapacitors, the development status of supercapacitors.

Manufacturing and operation of the electrochemical devices: basic steps in the manufacturing processes of electrochemical denices including fuel cells, electrolysers, batteries and supercapacitors; operation principles of the electrochemical devices.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Examination EXAMINATION (2 HOURS) 60

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate

• Understanding of scientific fundamentals of electrochemical systems and working principles of different types of electrochemical devices, as well as the ability to formulate and solve practical problems related to fuel cells, electrolysers, batteries and supercapacitors in the final examination. The coursework tests and amplifies awareness and ability to formulate and solve a practical problem in electrochemical systems.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

• Coursework – 40%, 15 hrs (LOs 2, 3, 4)

• Examination – 60%, 2 hrs (LOs 1, 2, 4, 5)

Formative assessment and feedback

• Formative verbal feedback is given during in-class problem solving and discussion sessions.

• Formative feedback on coursework is given verbally and available on SurreyLearn to provide feedback on understanding of the electrochemical energy systems and respective problem formulation and solution.

Module aims

  • • Advanced knowledge and practical skills needed for a professional career in the energy industry, renewable energy industry, local and national governments setting energy strategies, research and development in energy technologies.
  • • A systematic understanding and critical awareness of the importance of the electrochemical technologies in energy applications;
  • • A sound understanding of the fundamental principles, operation requirements, design criteria and engineering applications of electrochemical technologies such as batteries, fuel cells, supercapacitors and electrolysers.
  • • Specialist knowledge, technical expertise and research skills for further research in energy and environment systems and technologies.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 • Have a thorough understanding of the fundamental scientific principles of electrochemical systems and the interrelationships between them. (LO5 – T, P) PT
002 • Select and use electrochemical technologies appropriate for a particular application. (LO2 – K) K
003 • Have sufficient breadth of technical background to permit study of the current literature, identification of gaps in information, and engagement in discussion with peers and a wide ranging audience. (LO3 – K, C) CK
004 • Recognise the limitations with current technologies and the importance of further research and development to advance the technologies (LO4 – T, P) PT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Overall student workload

Independent Study Hours: 115

Lecture Hours: 35

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

• Introduce principles electrochemical systems and different technologies in general through theory and worked examples. This is mainly delivered through lectures and in-class problem solving, as well as group discussions within the class.

The learning and teaching methods include:

• 3 hours lecture per week x 11 weeks

• 2 hours revision lectures

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: ENGM287

Other information


Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2020/1 academic year.