This course is available through clearing

If you already have your exam results, meet the entry requirements and hold no offers, then you can apply to this course now.

Contact the admissions team

If you're waiting for your results, then sign up to our clearing alerts to get all the information you need ahead of results day.

Sign up now

BSc Chemistry / Course details

Year of entry: 2021

Coronavirus information for applicants and offer-holders

We understand that prospective students and offer-holders may have concerns about the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. The University is following the advice from Universities UK, Public Health England and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Read our latest coronavirus information

Course unit details:
Environmental and Green Chemistry

Unit code CHEM20712
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Department of Chemistry
Available as a free choice unit? No


Weeks 1 - 2 Green Chemistry (Dr. G. Perry, 4 lectures)

  • What is 'Green Chemistry' : environmental issues to be overcome in the 21st century
  • Designing cleaner, more efficient reactions: use of catalysis, enzymes, light and renewable feedstocks

Examples of green chemical reactions: from the bench to production.


Weeks 3 – 4 Process Chemistry (Dr. G. Perry, 3 lectures + workshop)

  • Exemplification of route design and optimization: what makes a good process?
  • Key bond-forming reactions in industrial chemistry: what are the problems?
  • Selected case histories from the pharmaceutical and fine chemicals industries


Weeks 5 – 8 Weeks 9 -11Novel Feedstocks for Green Chemistry (Dr F. Mair, 6 lectures + Workshop)New Sources of Chemicals (Dr. F. S. Mair; 6 lectures):

  • Survey of common materials currently sourced from petrochemicals
  • Discussion of alternative renewable feedstocks to replace petrochemical feedstocks: sugars, lignin, fats, biomass, CO2.

 Week 9-12 Atmospheric Chemistry (Dr. A. Brisdon, 7 lectures +Workshop)

  • A survey of the composition of the atmosphere and the natural chemical and physical processes that lead to this composition, including methods used to determine atmospheric concentrations.
  • Anthropogenic effects on the atmosphere
  • Discussion of  key environmental challenges arising from anthropogenic effects.

Week 12 Workshops: Feed-forward of common errors from previous years.


 The course unit  aims to:

  • Provide the student with an understanding of the impact which chemistry can have on the environment and of how this impact may be quantified and minimized.
  • Provide an insight into how manufacturing processes can be developed which have a minimal environmental footprint.
  • Highlight recent advances in chemical synthesis which minimize waste and increase overall chemical efficiency.
  • Describe the general composition of the atmosphere and how solar energy drives chemistry, photochemistry and physical transport processes.
  • Describe the theory of classical and state-of-the-art analytical techniques and demonstrates their use in environmental chemistry through case studies.
  • Describe anthropogenic effects on the atmosphere and discuss some key environmental challenges.
  • Highlight how alternative feedstocks can allow access to key chemicals beyond the petrochemical era.

Learning outcomes

Students successfully completing this unit should have developed the ability to:

Green Chemistry and Process Chemistry

  • Demonstrate a knowledge of the key reactions and processes used in chemical industries;
  • Understand the problems associated with performing large scale chemical syntheses;
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the factors which contribute to the design and execution of efficient chemical syntheses.

Atmospheric Chemistry 

  • Understand chemical and physical processes which occur in the atmosphere and relate these to the natural composition of the atmosphere;
  • Demonstrate a basic understanding of the methods and instrumentation for analysis of atmospheric composition;
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the impacts anthopogenic emissions have on natural atmospheric chemistry, cycles and processes;
  • Predict the likely atmospheric chemistry and ultimate fate of anthropogenic pollutants;
  • Compare the relative environmental impacts of related anthropogenic pollutants.

Novel Feedstocks

  • Identify likely sources of key feedstocks from sources other than petrochemicals
  • Apply basic chemical principles to the harvesting and manipulation on non-traditional chemical feedstocks.

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures supported by online materials

Intellectual skills

  • Concept assimilation;
  • Problem-solving skills;
  • Analysis and interpretation of data from analytical techniques;
  • Numeric skills;
  • Ability to apply a logical approach to chemical synthesis.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Problem-solving skills
  • Communications skills
  • Numeracy and mathematical skills
  • Analytical skills
  • ICT skills
  • Time management and organisational skills
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Ethical behaviour

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 80%
Written assignment (inc essay) 20%

Feedback methods

  • Green Chemistry and Process Chemistry: On-line problems and answers; self-test on-line quizzes; the lecturer delivering the material is also available to see students during office hours.
  • Atmospheric Chemistry: On-line problems and answers; self-test on-line quizzes; the lecturer delivering the material is also available to see students during office hours
  • Novel Feedstocks: On-line problems and answers; self-test on-line quizzes; the lecturer delivering the material is also available to see students during office hours.
  • All: Workshops and feedforward sessions in final lecture slots, discussing last year's exam common errors plus feedback on Social Responsibility coursework. 

Recommended reading

  1. Environmental Analytical Chemistry (2000). Fifield, FW and Haines, PJ. Blackwell Science
  2. X-ray Absorption: Principles, Applications, Techniques of EXAFS, SEXAFS, and XANES (1988). Koningsberger, DC and Prins, R. Wiley Science.
  3. Physical Principals of Electron Microscopy: An Introduction to TEM, SEM, and AFM (2005). Egerton, R. Springer Science.
  4. Radiochemistry and Nuclear Chemistry (3rd Ed.), Gregory R. Choppin, Jan-Olov Liljenzin, Jan Rydberg
  5. The Nuclear Fuel Cycle: from Ore to Wastes, Peter D. Wilson, Oxford University Press, 1996

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 2
Lectures 19
Practical classes & workshops 4
Independent study hours
Independent study 75

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Francis Mair Unit coordinator

Return to course details