Module code: ENGM215

Module Overview

Biomass processing technologies or biorefineries include a wide range of options, including biochemical, thermochemical and catalytic reaction technologies. Starting from the core reaction technologies, a biorefinery flowsheet includes separation and purification to multi-products, and utility and reagent recovery systems. This module aims to develop conceptual design skills from unit operations through to integrated flowsheets and techno-economic analysis, using leading innovations in the field and spreadsheet-based models

Module provider

Chemistry and Chemical Engineering

Module Leader

LEE Judy (Chst Chm 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: 101

Lecture Hours: 11

Tutorial Hours: 11

Guided Learning: 11

Captured Content: 16

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

1. Biomass resources and biorefinery products: Excess non-consumable bio-based wastes and residues including lignocelluloses, roles of biomass in the provision of energy, chemicals, and materials; types of biomasses; main biorefinery products; general aspects of developing/evaluating biomass processing systems.

2. Biorefinery: conceptions, process integration, product options: value vs. volume and economics.

3. Framework for evaluating biomass processing systems: Principles and methods for

evaluating economics, including equipment sizing and costing, mass and energy flow

analysis, energy consumption, and greenhouse gas emission mitigation.

5. Biochemical conversion: Bioethanol production system and Monod kinetics and applications.

6. Thermochemical conversion: Combined heat and power system, gasification, pyrolysis, Fischer-Tropsch synthesis, methanol synthesis, hydroprocessing, catalytic reactions and controlled acid hydrolysis.

7. Waste valorisation: municipal solid waste material recovery facilities, chemicals and materials.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework COURSEWORK 100

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

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

  • Learning outcomes 1, 5 on Coursework

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • Coursework, 100%. Design and techno-economic analysis of biorefinery systems – process modelling, mass and energy flow analyses, equipment sizing and costing, comprehensive economic analysis and environmental feasibility analysis.

Formative assessment and feedback

The students will receive feedback on their learning, in-class tutorial, problems and coursework.

Module aims

  • Learn the processes and technologies to produce energy, chemical, and material products based on biomass processing.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Identify, analyse, and select the processes and technologies for producing the main types of biofuels, namely bioethanol and biodiesel. KCT
002 Identify, analyse, and select the processes and equipment for pyrolysis, gasification, and the synthesis of products from thermochemical processing. KCT
003 Identify the key opportunities for biomass-based manufacturing of chemicals and materials. K
004 Explain and analyse the concept of biorefinery and the possible integrations with conventional refineries. KC
005 Apply the principles and skills for conducting energy, economic, and environmental evaluation of biomass processing technologies CP

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:

Present up to date technologies for biomass processing combined with problem solving sessions giving opportunity for group work and discussion. The topic will be addressed on process level by calculating the key parameters for specific biomass conversion technologies and in a wider context by identifying a network associated with a biorefinery enabling maximal utilisation of regional biomass potential.

The learning and teaching methods include:

2 hours combined lectures/problem solving sessions per week x 11 weeks 

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: ENGM215

Other information

We are committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability, and Resourcefulness and Resilience. This module is designed to allow students to develop knowledge, skills and capabilities in the following areas.

Employability – The module provides students with comprehensive, up-to-date knowledge and experience within the Biorefinery field. The module also provides students with first-hand experience with problem-solving in the Spreadsheet environment. The experience gained from this module is deeply valuable for someone looking to move into a sustainability-related role, especially those looking to conduct alternative process system design for a career.

Digital Capabilities – This module provides students with first-hand experience with a leading biorefinery resource: DOI: 9781118698129. The experience gained with this module is transferrable to process designs and sustainability evaluations. Moreover, the calculations can be conducted on spreadsheets. This develops skills in formula application and this experience is valuable for other aspects of work and life, not just within Biorefineries. Moreover, the module requires students to produce computer-aided process engineering and report, which helps develop digital capabilities.

Sustainability – This learning will take place through gaining first-hand experience in conceptual alternative process design and evaluations for sustainability. Students primarily learn about the benefits that a certain biomass-based product or process may have. Students will also learn about the impact a product or process may have on society or the economy.

Resourcefulness and Resilience – The module requires students to develop independence and proactivity skills throughout. It requires students to conduct their research and develop their perseverance skills. During the module, students will need to apply agility, self-awareness and teamwork skills to complete the summative and formative assessments. Finally, the summative assessment requires students to develop their proactivity and independence skills.

Global and Cultural Capabilities – This module helps build global and cultural capabilities through the Coursework that requires the appreciation of global and cultural contexts, opportunities and constraints.

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 2023/4 academic year.