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ECS Short Courses


Washington, DC | Sunday, October 7, 2007

Short Course #2
Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cells
Eric Stuve and Hubert Gasteiger, Instructors

This short-course develops the fundamental thermodynamics and electrocatalytic processes critical to polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEMFC). In the first part, we will discuss the relevant half-cell reactions, their thermodynamic driving forces, and their mathematical foundations in electrocatalysis theory (e.g., Butler-Volmer equations). Subsequently, this theoretical framework will be applied to catalyst characterization and the evaluation of kinetic parameters.

In the second part of the course, we will illuminate the different functional requirements of actual PEMFC components and present basic in-situ diagnostics (Pt surface area, shorting, H2 crossover, electronic resistance, etc.). This will be used to develop an in-depth understanding of the various voltage loss terms that constitute a polarization curve. Finally, we will apply this learning to describe the principles of fuel cell catalyst activity measurements, the impact of uncontrolled-operation events (e.g., cell reversal), and the various effects of long-term materials degradation.

To benefit most effectively from this course, registrants should have completed at least their first two years of a bachelor’s program in physics, chemistry, or engineering; or have several years of experience with PEMFCs.


About the Instructors

Eric Stuve is a professor of chemical engineering and adjunct professor of chemistry at the University of Washington. He currently serves as Chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering. Stuve received his BS degree in chemical engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1978 and MS and PhD degrees in chemical engineering from Stanford University in 1979 and 1984. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the Fritz Haber Institute in Berlin in 1984. Stuve’s research interests are in the area of electrochemical surface science, electrocatalysis, and fuel cells, and he has published over 50 technical papers. His teaching interests are in fuel cell engineering catalysis. Stuve led the development of a four-course curriculum in fuel cells and electrochemical engineering at the University of Washington and has offered ECS short courses since 2002. Stuve received an Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship in 1984, the Presidential Young Investigator Award of the NSF in 1986, and is a Fellow of the AVS.

Hubert Gasteiger received his BS in technical chemistry from the Fachhochschule Nürnberg (Germany) in 1986, his MS in chemical engineering from Oregon State University, and his PhD in chemical engineering from the University of California at Berkeley in 1993. He spent nine years in academic research on fundamental electrocatalysis and fuel cell related gas-phase catalysis, followed by seven years of industrial R&D in fuel cell development for automotive applications. Dr. Gasteiger was involved in the stack component design for GM/Opel’s H2-powered fuel cell vehicles, and since 1998 has been leading an R&D group in fuel cell stack materials development (membranes, catalysts, membrane electrode assemblies) at GM/Opel’s Fuel Cell Activities program in Honeoye Falls, New York. He co-authored 50 peer-reviewed publications and served as Co-Editor-In-Chief for Wiley’s Handbook of Fuel Cells – Fundamentals, Technology, and Applications (2003). In 2004, he received the Klaus-Jürgen Vetter Award for Electrochemical Kinetics from the International Society of Electrochemistry.

For additional information about Education, please contact: education


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