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LEC.282: Energy, Economy and Environment


Department: Lancaster Environment Centre NCF Level: FHEQ/QCF/NQF5//RQF5
Study Level: Part II (yr 2) Credit Points: 15.0
Start Date: 11-01-2016 End Date: 18-03-2016
Available for Online Enrolment?: Y Enrolment Restriction: Fully available to all students
Module Convenor: Dr AB Armstrong

Syllabus Rules and Pre-requisites

Curriculum Design: Outline Syllabus

  • The provisioning of affordable, low carbon and secure energy is a central challenge for the UK Government. This module provides an overview of energy technologies and the energy system within the UK. Following an introduction on why energy is important, forms of energy and how it is used, the module will focus on each of the key energy technologies in turn. The specifics of each energy technology including how it works, how much is produced, economics, environmental impacts, relevant policies and its current role in the energy mix will be outlined. Energy distribution networks, overall policy drivers and future energy mixes will also be detailed. The aim is to equip students with a broad understanding of energy technologies and the energy system.

    Lecture schedule (50 min each)

    1. The importance, types and uses of energy
    2. Energy units and calculations
    3. Traditional energy sources - coal, oil and gas.
    4. Nuclear and fusion
    5. Solar
    6. Bioenergy
    7. Wet renewables - hydro, tidal and wave
    8. Wind
    9. Geothermal
    10. Anaerobic digestion and energy from waste
    11. Carbon capture and storage
    12. Energy storage
    13. Energy networks
    14. Energy projections
    15. Revision lecture

    Workshop (3 hr each)

    Energy calculations. Students explore the controls over renewable energy production in a hands-on session. Wind - wind strength and blade type effects; solar - incoming radiation and solar panel angle effects; hydro - flow rate and head effects.

    Field visits (10 hr and 3 hr, 13 hrs in total)

    1. A customised tour at Drax coal and biomass power station with the worlds largest desulphurisation plant (free tour, transport costs required).
    2. A seminar by Jan Bastiaans on Lancaster University energy strategy followed by a tour of the biomass boiler, combined heat and power and wind turbine (free tour, no transport costs).

    Contact time: 34 hrs

    Reading: 30 hrs (2 hr for every lecture)

    Reading of contemporary energy issues in the media: 10 hrs (1 hr per week)

    Preparation of inforgraphic & accompanying handbook: 36 hrs

    Preparation of energy calculation report: 10 hrs

    Exam and revision: 30 hrs

Curriculum Design: Single, Combined or Consortial Schemes to which the Module Contributes

  • BSc Hons Environmental Science and Technology (Professional Experience)

    MSci Hons Environmental Science and Technology (Professional Experience)

    BSc Hons Environmental Science

    MSci Hons Environmental Science

    BSc Hons Earth and Environmental Science

    MSci Hons Earth and Environmental Science

    BSc Hons Physical Geography

    MSci Hons Physical Geography

    BSc Hons Geography

    MSci Hons Geography

    MSci Hons Geography (Professional Experience)

    BA Hons Geography

    BSc Hons Natural Sciences

    MSci Hons Natural Sciences

  • 50% Exam
  • 30% Coursework
  • 20% Groupwork

Assessment: Details of Assessment

  • Assessments will comprise:

    (1) An infographic suitable to education of the lay person about a dimension of energy supply along with a 1 page description detailing the rationale, take-home message and sources (30 % individual). The deadline will be two weeks after lecture 11 and the students will be given feedback within four weeks. This assessment tests academic knowledge with the embedded skills of visual communication and engagement with the non-specialist.

    (2) A practical report from the energy calculatons workshop - after lecture 2 (20 % practical in groups, report individual). The students will recieve feedback within four weeks of their report hand in. This assessment tests academic knowledge with embedded numerical skills.

    (3) End of year exam (50 % individual). This assessment tests individual academic knowledge under controlled conditions.

Educational Aims: Subject Specific: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

  • As a result of increasing energy demand, concerns regarding security of supply and the need to de-carbonise energy supplies to mitigate climate change, sustainable energy provisioning is one of the challenges society faces. This module provides an overview of energy technologies and the energy system within the UK. Following an introduction on why energy is important, forms of energy, energy units and basic calculations and how it is used, the module focuses on each of the key energy technologies in turn. The specifics of each energy technology including how it works, how much is produced, economics, environmental impacts and its current role in the energy mix will be outlined. Energy distribution networks, overall policy drivers and future energy mixes will also be detailed. 

Educational Aims: General: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

  • This module will equip the student with an understanding of the economical, political, technological, resource and environmental factors, that affect decision making, which while specific to energy are applicable to the provisioning of other resources. It will afford the opportunity to think broadly across UK energy provision and options for the future. The students will build on their numerical skills and understanding of energy units.

Learning Outcomes: Subject Specific: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

  • On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

    1. detail the importance of energy
    2. outline the forms and uses of energy
    3. understand energy units and be able to make basic calculations
    4. describe the key energy technologies, including costs and environmental impacts
    5. outline the energy distribution system
    6. describe the potential role of carbon capture and storage in low carbon energy production
    7. describe energy policies
    8. discuss potential future energy mixes

Learning Outcomes: General: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

  • On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

    1. critically evaluate the importance of competing factors
    2. summarise a complex concept in an easy to interpret infographic format
    3. build on their numerical skills
    4. understand energy units
    5. work in small groups

Contact Information

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