Module code: ENGM270

Module Overview

This module is designed to provide necessary geotechnical design concepts of deep foundation and deep geological storage facilities related to some of the current and emerging energy projects. They include renewable energy systems (offshore and onshore wind turbine generator foundations), foundations for offshore oil and gas installations, geothermal energy pile foundation and nuclear power plant foundations There will also be specialised lectures on high level nuclear waste disposal and carbon geo-sequestration, methane hydrates and compressed air energy storage.

Module provider

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Module Leader

BHATTACHARYA Suby (Civl Env Eng)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 120

Lecture Hours: 30

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

A knowledge of basic soil mechanics and structural mechanics to FHEQ Level 6.

Module content

Indicative content includes

  • Geothermal Energy Pile (Thermal Pile) Foundation

Heat transfer in the ground, ground source heat pump (GSHP), vertical loop heat exchanger, horizontal loop heat exchanger, water source heat pump (WSHP), thermal response test (TRT), ground thermal properties (thermal conductivity, heat capacity, diffusivity), design of GSHP based on British code of practice, Energy foundations and earth contact underground structures (geothermal energy pile foundation, base slab, diaphragm wall, basement wall and tunnel), heating and cooling structures (building, pavement, bridge decks), Thermo-Mechanical (TM) design of geothermal energy pile, installation of heat exchanging loops, construction of thermal pile, ground thermal recovery and recharge

  • Wind and marine turbine foundations

Conceptual design of wind farms (site layout, geology of the site, spacing, overall structure, types of turbines and turbine characteristics), Loading on wind turbines foundations (wind spectrum, wave spectrum, 1P loading, 3P loading),  Types of foundations (Onshore and Offshore: monopile, suction caisson, tripod, tetrapod, floating system, jacket), Installation of offshore foundations, Design considerations (effects of cyclic loading, ultimate capacity, natural frequency estimates, accumulation of rotation, fatigue design),  Dynamic-Soil-Structure-Interaction, Designing foundations based on codes of practice. 

  • Foundations for Offshore Oil and Gas installations

Different types of foundations, foundation design considerations for gravity base structure, jacket structures, floating structures such as FPSO's, TLP's, offshore site investigations, design of pipelines (upheaval buckling, on-bottom pipelines), design of foundations based on API method

  • Nuclear Power Plant foundation

Foundation design solutions for a nuclear reactor building, dynamic soil-structure issues, site investigation required for analysis and design, codes of practice, case studies.

  • Nuclear Waste Disposal

Type and source of nuclear waste, hazardous waste management and waste disposal policy, high-level nuclear waste disposal, design and construction of nuclear waste repository (deep geological disposal facility), design of engineering barrier, unsaturated soil behaviour, total suction, matric suction, water retention curves,  thermal properties, thermo-consolidation, Thermo-hydro-mechanical (THM) analysis, theoretical formulation and constitutive modelling, determination of material parameters for numerical modelling   

  • Carbon Geo-sequestration

Carbon sequestration technologies, carbon capture and subsurface geological storage (geo-sequestration), enhanced oil recovery (EOR), saline aquifers and sedimentary rocks reservoir, enhanced coal bed methane (ECBM) recovery, abandoned mines, supercritical CO2, flow and mechanical characteristics of porous rocks, stress-strain relationships, rock failure criteria, determination of mechanical properties, measurement and modelling of rock permeability

  • Methane hydrates and compressed air energy storage

Introduction to methane hydrates (MH) and compressed air energy storage (CAES), reserves of MH, production method, mechanical properties of MH bearing sediments, CAES using underground storage facilities

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Examination 2 HOUR EXAM 60
Coursework COURSEWORK 40

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate

  • Knowledge and understanding of principles of specialist foundation design (LO’s 1-5) through a 2 hour unseen examination.

  • Solving open ended problems such as a foundation design using real data, ability to interpret soil test data to obtain the design parameters (LO 5) is assessed through coursework.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

·         Examination [Learning outcomes assessed 1, 2, 3, 4, 5] (2 hours) {60%}

·         Coursework [Learning outcomes assessed 5] (40 hours) {40%}

Formative assessment and feedback

Formative Feedback will be through a range of self assessment exercises and quizzes held in the class.

Students will receive written feedback on their coursework.

Module aims

  • to discuss the energy challenge and introduce a new emerging discipline
  • to provide an appreciation of the complexity of foundation design in offshore and the technolgical challenges in deep water hydrocarbon exploration
  • to introduce the different types of foundations for energy projects and the guiding design principles
  • to provide ability to carry out analysis and design of foundations for offshore wind turbine, oil and gas installations, nuclear power station
  • to provide the ability to recognise the uncertainties in foundation design and need for site investigation 
  • to provide a broader understanding on the geotechnical design aspects of the geothermal energy pile
  • to understand design challenges involved in deep geological storage facilities related to nuclear waste disposal, carbon geosequestartion, compressed air energy storage

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Choose foundation options for different energy projects KCPT
002 . Compare the advantages and limitations of different types of foundations KCPT
003 Make an appropriate choice of analysis methods to be used for foundation design and evaluate the loads KCPT
004 Make an appropriate recommendation of soil testing required, and interprete soil testing data to obtain the design parameters.)) KCPT
005 Carry out design of some of the foundations using appropriate codes of practice KCPT
006 Perform thermo-hydro-mechanical (THM) analysis of unsaturated engineering barriers used in nuclear waste repository KCPT
007 Analysis of porous rock behaviour to predict its flow and mechnical behaviour to assess its suitability for carbon sequestration and compressed air storage KCPT
008 Independent learning skills T
009 Oral & written communication T
010 Graphical presentation of data T
011 Synthesis of data T
012 3D spatial awareness T
013 Use of word processor, spreadsheet, drawings T
014 Critical thinking T

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

  • provide a specialist knowledge of foundation design and deep geological storage facilities related to energy sector, and will be delivered principally by lectures but also learning by analysing field data and through a course work.

The module is delivered principally by lectures with tutorial/question classes.

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • Geothermal energy pile foundation lectures/tutorials (6 hours)

  • Wind and marine foundations lectures/tutorials (3 hours)

  • Foundations for offshore oil and gas installation lectures/tutorials (3 hours)

  • Nuclear power plant foundations lectures/tutorials (3 hours)

  • Nuclear waste disposal lectures/tutorials (6 hours)

  • Carbon geo-sequestration lectures/tutorials (6 hours)

  • Methane hydrate and compressed air energy storage lectures (3 hours)

  • Directed and guided reading (78 hours)

  • Coursework (40 hours)



Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: ENGM270

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Bridge Engineering MSc 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Structural Engineering MSc 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Infrastructure Engineering and Management MSc 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Civil Engineering MSc 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Advanced Geotechnical Engineering MSc 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Civil Engineering MEng 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2020/1 academic year.