PHY3067 Energy and the Environment 2017-18
Mr T.A. Mitchell, Dr M.E. Eames and Mr A.D.S. Norton
Delivery Weeks: T1:01-11
Level: 6 (NQF)
Credits: 15 NICATS / 7.5 ECTS
Enrolment: 44 students (approx)


Students will work individually and in groups in order to engage with the technical, economic and social issues arising from energy-use and environmental change. They will study these in sufficient depth to allow them to make informed and quantitative judgements about proposals to ameliorate environmental damage by policy and other changes. They also have the opportunity to exercise these skills by examining a 'real world' issue as the topic of a group research-project and report.

Module Aims

The aim of this module is to introduce students to the interdisciplinary issues surrounding energy use and environmental change. Energy is mainly derived from fossil fuels; there are two problems with this energy source. The first is that it is finite, and so in the future we must move to sustainable energy sources. Secondly, fossil fuels pollute the environment on both a local and a global scale.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

A student who has passed this module should be able to:

Syllabus Plan

  1. Lectures
    1. Introduction and Energy Supply
    2. Fossil Fuels
    3. Nuclear Power
    4. Economics
    5. Climate Change 1: Concepts
    6. Climate Change 2: Modelling
    7. Energy from Wind and Water
    8. Solar Energy and Photovoltaics
    9. Biomass
    10. Combined Heat and Power, Heat pumps and Geothermal Energy
    11. Future Technologies
    12. Transport Sector
    13. Industrial Sector
    14. Energy in Buildings: Concepts
    15. Energy in Buildings: Modelling
    16. Adaptation, Mitigation and Policy
  2. Group Project
    Working in groups of about six, students will analyse and compare alternative approaches to a problem; possible topics include, for example, "Propose a series of measures which, globally, could be used to absorb or sequester 50% of the carbon currently emitted from burning fossil fuels", "Determine what fraction of the UK's requirement for electricity could be met from wind power", etc. A group will produce a report and present its findings to the rest of the class at the end of the module. (Refer to the Learning and Teaching section for further details.)

Learning and Teaching

Learning Activities and Teaching Methods

Description Study time KIS type
16×1-hour lectures 16 hours SLT
16×half-hour tutorial sessions 8 hours SLT
8×3-hour problems sets (formative) 24 hours GIS
7×3-hour worksheets (summative) 21 hours GIS
Mini-project report 8 hours GIS
Main-project report 25 hours GIS
Reading, private study and revision 48 hours GIS


Weight Form Size When ILOS assessed Feedback
0% Problems Sets 8×3-hour One per week T1:01-08 1,2,4,6 Written
35% Worksheets 7×3-hour One per week T1:01-03,06-09 1,2,4,6 Written
15% Mini-Project Report 1000 words Deadline week T1:05 1,2,4,6 Written and verbal
40% Group Project Report 5000 words Deadline week T1:11 1-6 Written and verbal
10% Group Presentation 15 minutes Week T1:11 1-5,7 Written and verbal


The following list is offered as an indication of the type & level of information that students are expected to consult. Further guidance will be provided by the Module Instructor(s).

Core text:

Supplementary texts:


Further Information

Prior Knowledge Requirements

Pre-requisite Modules Thermal Physics (PHY2023)
Co-requisite Modules none


Re-assessment is not available except when required by referral or deferral.

Original form of assessment Form of re-assessment ILOs re-assessed Time scale for re-assessment

Notes: Re-assessment is not available for this module.

KIS Data Summary

Learning activities and teaching methods
SLT - scheduled learning & teaching activities 24 hrs
GIS - guided independent study 126 hrs
PLS - placement/study abroad 0 hrs
Total 150 hrs
Summative assessment
Coursework 90%
Written exams 0%
Practical exams 10%
Total 100%


IoP Accreditation Checklist
  • Not applicable, this is an optional module.
Availability unrestricted
Distance learning NO
Keywords Physics; Energy; Fuel; Fossil; Issues; Conservation; Range; Fossil fuels; Measures; Warming; Potential.
Created 01-Oct-10
Revised 24-Jul-17