Surrey University Stag


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

Chemistry and Chemical Engineering

Module Leader

CAI Qiong (Chst Chm Eng)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

JACs code: F110

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

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 95

Lecture Hours: 33

Guided Learning: 11

Captured Content: 11

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


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 1 (Essay) – 20%, 15 hrs (LOs 2, 3, 4)

• Coursework 2 (Oral Presentation) – 20%, 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) KCPT
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

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

Sustainability: This module introduces various advanced electrochemical systems which are all clean energy technologies with potential to decarbonize the transport, heat, and grid energy supply systems, contributing towards the net-zero society. It is important that we train students in these areas to support the development of these technologies. Through this module, we are preparing next-generation engineers with the required skills to work on these net-zero technologies for future sustainable development in the UK and globally. 

Digital Capabilities: Throughout the programme students learn to navigate and utilise the Virtual Learning Environment @ Surrey (SurreyLearn) and additional digital resources available in the library and on the internet. Students are encouraged to use current media such as Whatsapp, Teams, Zoom, and utilising cloud/file sharing for communication and team working. Students are also guided through searching various online digital resources (Google, Web of Science, Science Direct, Google Scholar, etc) to find relevant information about specific electrochemical energy technologies, for delivering their coursework. This process helps them gain an awareness of different digital resources and how to obtain information from these digital resources.  

Employability: Throughout the course students will learn different electrochemical systems including batteries, supercapacitors, fuel cells, and hydrogen electrolysers, from fundamental working mechanisms to materials and operations of these electrochemical systems. This will equip them with deep knowledge and skills for clean energy sectors that involve any of the above-mentioned technologies and prepare them for employment in these growing sectors. The two coursework assessments are specifically designed to equip students with skills for critical analysis and evaluation, writing and presentation of electrochemical energy systems, which will enhance their ability for appropriate application of their knowledge to development of specific technologies, advancing research or creating new knowledge.  

Global and Cultural Capabilities: The module is taught in an interactive and collaborative way, in a cohort that commonly represents a wealth of nationalities and backgrounds. One of the coursework is delivered by live presentation to the whole cohort, which provide students opportunities to engage with, and learn from, diverse perspectives through interaction and teamwork. Particularly, the technology development status across the world is introduced during the module, to equip students with global perspectives.     

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 2024/5 academic year.