Energy, Life and Resources

Module summary

Module code: ENVI1164
Level: 0
Credits: 15
School: Engineering and Science
Department: Science
Module Coordinator(s): Bruce Alexander


Pre and co requisites



The aim of this course is to introduce students to the role of energy, its generation and its use, is central to chemical, environmental and biological processes. Students will be able to explore routes to renewable energy and to increase energy efficiency, e.g. through biotechnology or green chemistry.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course a student will be able to:

1 Distinguish between endo- and exothermic processes and state suitable examples
2 Explain the importance of energy in biological processes
3 Identify key sources of energy and areas of their environmental impact
4 Describe the role that biotechnology plays in new energy sources or in sustainable development

Indicative content

Students will typically encounter subjects taken from the following topics:

Energy and renewable fuels: Conservation of energy and momentum; kinetic and internal energy; energy required for a temperature change; nuclear energy; endo- and exothermic change; enthalpies of combustion; Hess’s law.

Green Chemistry & Resources: Definition of Green Chemistry; renewable and non-renewable resources; sustainability and environmental issues relating to resources, e.g. energy generation and water use; catalysis and biocatalysis.

Biotechnology: Biological molecules, e.g. proteins, DNA, enzymes; reactions of enzymes; role of micro-organisms in recycling chemical elements and pollutant degradation; biomass and algae; the Krebs cycle, glycolysis, ATP as an energy source in biological processes; ATP synthesis and electron transfer in membranes of mitochondria; photosynthesis.

Teaching and learning activity

Students will follow a series of short lectures evenly split between the three main areas of this course. Each lecture shall have a short multiple-choice quiz attached to allow the students access to continual feedback. There will also be supplementary non-assessed tutorials with a frequency of 1 hour of tutorial for every 2 hours of lectures.


Methods of SUMMATIVE Assessment: Multiple Choice Quiz.
Outcome(s) assessed by summative assessment: 1-4.
Grading Mode Numeric
Weighting % 50 %
Pass Mark 40 %
Outline Details: 5 MCQs will be given, each 10 questions in length.

Methods of SUMMATIVE Assessment: Coursework (Short/numerical answers)
Outcome(s) assessed by summative assessment: 1-4
Grading Mode Numeric
Weighting % 50 %
Pass Mark 40 %
Outline Details: This coursework will present a series of questions that require calculations or data presentation.

Nature of FORMATIVE assessment supporting student learning:
Tutorials will be held each week to reinforce the topics delivered in the lectures. Formative MCQs are also provided.