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During the specialisation in Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Technology (HYTEC), you will study energy systems based on hydrogen and fuel cell technology.

The programme covers production of hydrogen, application of hydrogen in fuel cells and interaction with other energy systems. Hydrogen technology is a very important aspect in future industrial energy supply systems as well as in the transport industry and energy storage systems.

Explore questions such as:

  • Should future vehicles be based on hydrogen propulsion systems?
  • How can the most cost-effective, energy optimised, hydrogen and fuel cell systems be developed?
  • Can we replace our present oil supply infrastructure with a hydrogen supply infrastructure? And how?
  • How can hydrogen and fuel cell systems be included in and help stabilise a future energy supply based on sustainable energy sources?
  • Which types of fuel cells are the most suitable for given applications? 


The teaching in the programme takes place in an innovative, dynamic and challenging environment through a combination of research-based courses, team-based project work, and a high degree of interaction with industrial partners and energy supply companies.

The companies take an active part in providing project proposals for the problem-oriented project work, guest lectures and visits to the companies.

In each semester (except for the last) you will spend half of your study time on courses and course work while the other half of your time will be spent doing a semester project. Each semester has an overall theme, and within this theme you conduct a semester project with your project group where you investigate and attempt to solve a relevant issue within your field of study.

The study programmes at AAU are based on problem based learning and project work, which gives you a unique opportunity to acquire new knowledge and competences at a high academic level in an independent manner. You get to apply theory to practice in your semester projects, which will better prepare you for your future career.


At the Department of Energy Technology, you will find well-equipped, modern test laboratories that enable you to conduct exciting laboratory experiments. These tests will verify the theoretical analysis that you apply during the project work.

The laboratories with advanced computer based measurement and control facilities allow you to perform realistic tests on state-of-the-art fuel cell stack and electrolysis systems as well as complex reforming systems for hydrogen production. 

Read more about the laboratory facilities.


Student reading


This semester is common to the two thermal specialisations of the Master' programme in Energy Engineering: Thermal Energy and Process Engineering (TEPE) and Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Technology (HYTEC).

For students with a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree from Aalborg University, the project work is 15 ECTS credits, whereas it is 10 ECTS credits (INTRO project) for students with a BSc degree from another university.

The projects' technical topics are identical, but students from another university have one extra course about Problem Based Learning (PBL) which is the primary teaching method used at Aalborg University.. Furthermore, students with a BSc degree from another university also have a course in Control theory and Matlab.

The documentation of the project work is also different:

  • Students with a BSc degree from Aalborg University should document the project work with a paper, a poster and a presentation at an internal conference (CES) accompanied by an appendix report, all in English
  • Students with a BSc degree from another university should document the work with a project report written in English

In your project, you and your project group can study a thermal/fluid problem where steady-state or transient analyses are performed to e.g. study stress and strain conditions or design requirements. You can apply numerical methods to investigate the effect of changes in various coefficients. The design is then verified with experiments in the laboratory.

See more about projects and courses on Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Technology (HYTEC).


In this semester, you focus on a fundamental fluid dynamics problem which could be a process or a typical fuel cell component, which, when applied or in use, is exposed to thermal and/or fluid mechanical effects that may be steady-state or a transient.

In your project, you and your project group can study a basic thermal/fluid problem where steady-state or transient analyses are performed to study thermal and fluid dynamical effects. You should apply numerical methods such as CFD-modelling to investigate the modelled system component. The design is then verified with experiments in the laboratory.


In this semester, you will learn more about the Problem Based Learning (PBL) method applied at Aalborg University by doing project work and writing a project report about an issue or a problem in relation to thermal energy engineering.


  • Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and Multi-phase Flow (5 ECTS)
  • Fluid Mechanics and Compressible Flow (5 ECTS)
  • Probability Theory, Stochastic Processes and Applied Statistics (5 ECTS)
  • For international students: Control Theory and MATLAB (5 ECTS)


  • Fluid‐Mechanical Analysis Methods (15 ECTS)
  • For international students: Problem Based Project Organised Learning in Thermo‐Mechanical Analysis Methods (10 ECTS)

examples of pROJEcT topics

  • Numerical investigation of 2-dimensional flow in fuel cell stacks
  • Aerodynamic design of AAU Eco-Marathon fuel cell Racer
  • CFD design of a steam reforming system for hydrogen production
  • Experimental characterization of the flow patterns in electrolysis cells

Exhibiting of ECO-racer


The second semester project focuses on modelling and optimisation of a physical fuel cell or related hydrogen system. You will improve your advanced knowledge of systems by using fuel cells and hydrogen technology.

You and your project group will develop a non-linear dynamic model of a system, e.g. by using block diagrams as in Simulink. Simultaneously, you develop a data acquisition and a control system in e.g. the Labview real-time system through which basic analog data acquisition and control are interconnected.


  • Fuel Conversion and Production (5 ECTS)
  • Chemical Reactors and Process Systems (5 ECTS)
  • Optimisation Theory and Reliability (5 ECTS)


  • Modelling and Optimisation of Fuel Cell Systems (15 ECTS)

examples of pROJEcT topics

  • Modelling and optimisation of hydrogen production systems (e.g. reformers or electrolysis plants)
  • Theoretical and experimental investigation of transient carbon monoxide poisoning in PEM fuel cell stacks

Students at lecture


During the third semester, you have different options to earn the required 30 ECTS credits:

  • You can do a traineeship in Denmark or abroad, where you take part in the day-to-day operations in the business. During the traineeship, you will write a project about one or more of your tasks during the process
  • You can do a semester at another educational institution abroad or in Denmark
  • You can do a regular semester at AAU with elective courses and project work
  • You can begin your Master’s thesis, so your work is spread out over both your 3rd and 4th semester

Aalborg University has collaboration agreements with universities around the world, and the programme’s research environment has a wide range of traineeship contacts.

Find out more about studying abroad and traineeship here.

If you opt to stay at AAU, you will choose elective courses that give you 10 ECTS credits, and you will work on a project about optimisation, control and diagnosis of fuel cell or hydrogen systems. First, you model the system and you can apply different system identification methods to determine the parameters of the system. The system model is then verified by simulations and data time series from either a real system or a laboratory set-up.

To practice scientific communication skills, the project’s result, or parts of it, must be published in an article written in English. This article is presented at an internal seminar (CES).


  • Elective course (5 ECTS) *
  • Elective course (5 ECTS) *


  • Optimisation, Analysis and Control of Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Technology Systems (20 ECTS)

examples of pROJEcT topics

  • Design and construction of an enthanol reformer in the laboratory
  • Modelling and optimisation of an automotive hybrid fuel cell system
  • Optimisation and process integration of an integrated fuel cell reforming system
  • Modelling and optimisation regarding the dynamics of hydrogen storage systems

* The elective courses can be seen at this website and may vary from year to year, depending on the number of students in the various specialisations, the on-going projects and the research performed at the Department of Energy Technology. Further, courses from other universities might be used as elective courses.

Students at lecture


In the fourth semester, you write your Master’s thesis where you draw on all the knowledge, experience and skills you have acquired during your studies. Depending on your choice of topic, the thesis will involve developmental work, further development, or actual research.

master’s thesis

  • Self-selected topic (30 ECTS)

examples of thesis topics

  • Development of a fuel cell-based automobile
  • Optimisation and adaptation of the energy system of fuel cell based combined heat and power plant systems (CHP)
  • Advanced process integration of on-board fuel cell reforming systems
  • Modelling and optimisation of the hydrogen storage of a hydrogen-based aircraft

Exhibition of ECO-racer


Study Method at AAU - Problem Based Learning

Study Method at AAU - Problem Based Learning

The study method at AAU is called Problem Based Learning (PBL). Together with your fellow students you will work with real life problems by way of problem based project work.

learn more about Pbl at aau