Module Details

The information contained in this module specification was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change, either during the session because of unforeseen circumstances, or following review of the module at the end of the session. Queries about the module should be directed to the member of staff with responsibility for the module.
Code CHEM284
Coordinator Prof JA Lopez-Sanchez
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2018-19 Level 5 FHEQ Second Semester 7.5

Pre-requisites before taking this module (or general academic requirements):

Completion of Year 1 of either an MChem or BSc (Hons) Chemistry programme, or another such approved programme. 


This module introduces the basic concepts of sustainability and sustainable development, particularly in relation to their technological underpinnings. The module will address the role of chemistry in relation to broad societal, environmental and developmental questions. The module also gives a fundamental understanding of the principles and technologies in Green Chemistry and the generation of Renewable Energy and Chemicals.

The aims of the module are:

  • To explain the concepts and terminology of sustainability and sustainable development.
  • To highlight the role of science and technology in working towards sustainable development.
  • To illustrate t he central role of thermodynamics and metrics in the critical and comparative assessment of the efficiency and impact of chemical technologies.
  • To exemplify new approaches to chemistry in the development of more sustainable chemical technologies.
  • To provide the student with a fundamental understanding of the principles of Green Chemistry and a fundamental knowledge in new technologies for the generation of renewable energy and chemicals.


Learning Outcomes

Students should be be able to demonstrate understanding of the:

1. basic terminology of sustainable development and ''green'' chemistry

2. non-rigorous nature of this terminology and its consequences

3. importance of thermodynamic principles in judgements about what may be considered sustainable.

4. strengths and weaknesses of ''green'' chemistry

5. importance of catalysis in developing sustainable chemical technologies and the challenges associated with their implementation

6. basics of new technologies in the generation of renewable energy and chemicals.

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Lecture -



1. Sustainability and Sustainable Development: Concepts, Perspectives, Priorities and Implications

 2. Carrying Capacity, the ‘Master’ Equation and the Role of Technology (including Chemical Technology)

3. Chemistry of the Environment; Climate Change and Global warming

4. Chemistry of the Environment; Waste and pollution

5. Central Importance of the Second Law of Thermodynamics: The Concept of Exergy:  Ethanol manufacture

6. Reaction and Process Metrics in Chemistry and Chemical Technology

7. Principles of Green Chemistry

8. Importance of Catalysis in Sustainability

9. Emerging Greener Technologies: photochemical, microwave and sonochemical reactions

10. Energy Production Technologies

11. Energy from Renewables: Wind, Solar and Tidal Energy.

12. Biomass as a Renewable Source for Chemicals and Fuels: Biorefinary models

13. Biofuels (1st, 2nd and 3rd generation)

14. Renewable Chemicals from Biomass: platform chemicals

15. Renewable Chemicals from Biomass: biopolymers

16. Alternative Economies: Hydrogen, Syngas and Methanol.

17. Electrochemical conversion of Energy: Fuel Cells and Batteries



Recommended Texts

Reading lists are managed at Click here to access the reading lists for this module.
Explanation of Reading List:

Teaching Schedule

  Lectures Seminars Tutorials Lab Practicals Fieldwork Placement Other TOTAL
Study Hours 18

Timetable (if known)              
Private Study 57


EXAM Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Written Exam  1.5 hours  second  70  August resit for Year 2 students only. See notes.    Assessment 2 Notes (applying to all assessments) Assignment comprising of a 3000 word essay to test general understanding of the concepts introduced and their appropriate illustration with examples taken from lecture material and from other sources. This work is not marked anonymously Written Examination Year 3 (and Year 4) students resit at the next normal opportunity.  
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Coursework    second  30  No    Assessment 1