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Green & Sustainable Chemistry - CHE00030I

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  • Department: Chemistry
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Glenn Hurst
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: I
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25
    • See module specification for other years: 2023-24

Module summary

This module considers a range of factors that should be considered when designing more sustainable chemical products and processes for the future.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 2 2024-25

Module aims

This module considers the production methods of many chemicals, which are changing rapidly, driven partly by the need to reduce costs but more especially the search for ‘cleaner’ processes. Many factors have to be considered in selecting an ideal ‘clean’ process: the cost of raw materials, energy inputs, process safety, the amount and cost of disposal of waste and the environmental impact of the operation being just some of these. This module will explore changes occurring in the industry and seeks to predict where the industry is heading.

Module learning outcomes

Students will be able to

  • discuss different methods of measuring “greenness” and assess their relative merits.
  • apply the principles of life cycle assessment to quantify the environmental impact of an industrial chemical process.
  • appraise various chemical feedstocks, in particular contrasting traditional processes with their new cleaner analogues.
  • describe and classify the nature and use of sustainable feedstocks, reagents and solvents.
  • describe, compare and contrast sustainable energy sources, including biofuels and hydrogen, and the application of microwaves.
  • demonstrate an awareness of financial and social factors connected with reducing environmental impact.
  • identify key aspects of Green and Sustainable Chemistry across various case studies, in particular in the area of sustainable polymers.

Module content

Principles and metrics of Green Chemistry (6 lectures, ASM)
Principles of green chemistry
Key metrics (beyond AE and PMI, including % bio incorporation, and how this can be determined)
Life Cycle Assessment

Sustainable solvents (6 lectures, GAH)
Solvent guides and their application
Green solvents in industrial processes (inc. supercritical CO2)
Solvent free reactions including ball milling
Green polar aprotics, ionic liquids and deep eutectics
Gas expanded liquids

Sustainable feedstocks (5 lectures, DJM)
biomass, waste, CO2-derived chemicals.
contrast of petrochemicals biorefinery and CO2 refinery approaches

Sustainable polymers (5 lectures, GAH)
sustainable sourcing end of life considerations, moving to a circular economy

There will be a 2 h workshop run by DJM and GAH covering material from both sustainable feedstocks and polymers. (as mentioned in additional assessment information)

Heterogeneous transformations (6 lectures, DJM)
the critical role heterogeneous catalysts play in green chemistry in terms of separation, flow reactors etc.

Sustainable processing (4 lectures, TIJD + 2 h workshop)
Energy input, Ultrasound and Microwaves Batch vs. flow
Photo and Electrochemistry
Route selection


Task Length % of module mark
Closed/in-person Exam (Centrally scheduled)
Closed exam : Green & Sustainable Chemistry exam
2 hours 80
Infographic : Sustainable Feedstocks & Polymers
N/A 20

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

Closed examination: students answer two compulsory 25-mark questions.

Sustainable Feedstocks and Polymers are assessed by an infographic preparation.


Task Length % of module mark
Closed/in-person Exam (Centrally scheduled)
Closed exam : Green & Sustainable Chemistry exam
2 hours 80
Infographic : Sustainable Feedstocks & Polymers
N/A 20

Module feedback

Students will receive ongoing verbal or written feedback on their performance in the formative workshops and within 5 weeks on the summative infographic activity. The closed examinations are marked typically within 5 weeks with mark slips (with per-question break-down) being returned to students and supervisors. Outline answers are made available via the Chemistry VLE sites when the students receive their marks, so that they can assess their own detailed progress/achievement. Examiners reports are made available for each question to the students via the Chemistry VLE.

Indicative reading

To be provided by individual tutors

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.