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2021/22 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

CAPE5421M Atmospheric Pollution: Impacts and Controls

30 creditsClass Size: 50

Module manager: Dr V Dupont

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 (Sep to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2021/22

This module is not approved as an Elective


On completion of this module, students should:
- understand the mechanisms of emission of the main air pollutants.
- understand the principles of the processes used for the control of air pollution from stationary industrial sources.
- be able to consider the designs associated with the implementation of the control techniques using engineering skills.
- be able to perform critical assessments of the advantages and drawbacks of each control technique covered.
- have an understanding of the chemical and physical processes in the atmosphere that contribute to the secondary generation, transportation and deposition of pollutants.
- be able to investigate the reasons for high pollutant concentrations and their dependence on emissions, chemical transformations and meteorological conditions and to discuss relevance to pollution control.
- be able to use appropriate methods of modelling atmospheric dispersion and to work as a team to carry out environmental impact studies related to air quality. This will include being able to employ appropriate mathematical equations as well as utilise commercially used computer packages for atmospheric dispersion.
- understand the main human health and broader environmental impacts resulting from atmospheric emissions of pollutants from energy related and industrial sources at a range of scales ranging from the urban environment to global impacts such as climate change and stratospheric ozone depletion.

Learning outcomes
Students should be able to choose and carry out the designs necessary for the implementation of the most appropriate control technique for a given stationary industrial process that emits air pollutants in significant amounts.
Students should be able to use appropriate methods of modelling (mathematic and computational) atmospheric dispersion and to work as a team to carry out environmental impact studies related to air quality. They should be able to design an air quality screening approach which takes account of predominant weather patterns and sensitive receptors for a given case study and present the case in a professional way.
They should be able to comment on the impacts of the resulting ground level pollutant concentrations on human health both in the workplace and the wider locality for the given industrial installation. Students will develop a working knowledge of a widely used commercial package for atmospheric dispersion (ADM4).

Skills outcomes
Students will develop a critical ability as to which control technique is most appropriate for the air-polluting process under consideration.
Students will carry out small design exercises relevant to particular control techniques as the module progresses through the various air pollution control techniques. The design exercises include how to calculate the appropriate dimensions and process conditions of their control technique for a given air polluting process, and how to determine numerically their efficiency of control.
Students will develop the ability to formulate and present an air quality impact assessment of an energy/industrial process based on emissions calculations and dispersion simulations for a range of meteorological conditions. As part of this project they will develop computational and project design skills as well as using critical reasoning, written and oral communication and developing the ability to work as a team.
Students will develop an awareness of the health and environmental impacts of a range of processes within the energy sector.
Many of the skills developed and practiced in this module are transferable (e.g. to the research project).


Part A
- Mechanisms of emission and control methods from industrial stationary sources of: volatile organic compounds, sulphur species, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, soot, metallic emissions and particulate matter.
- This part of the module is delivered in the form of lectures with course examples embedded in the lectures and an item of coursework is associated with the control of air pollution section.

Part B
- Meteorological factors affecting pollutant dispersion; wind speed and direction and their variation with height, atmospheric stability, inversions.
- Origins of atmospheric turbulence, the atmospheric diffusion equation.
- Application of Gaussian plume model to elevated point and line sources.
- Computer simulations using Gaussian based dispersion model.
- The earth's radiation balance, radiative forcing and climate change, climate predictions, model uncertainties, feedbacks and political responses.
- Proposed geo-engineering solutions to mitigate climate change.
- Stratospheric ozone, chemistry and physics of depletion processes, CFC's and control of emissions following the Montreal Protocol.
- Gas phase tropospheric chemistry, photochemical reactions of NOx, O3,VOC's, PAN, SO2.
- The human health and environmental impacts of a range of local and regional air pollutants and appropriate UK and EU legislation to mitigate these effects.
- Liquid phase chemistry, atmospheric aerosols.
- Deposition processes acid rain and its effects, critical loads.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
On-line Learning42.008.00
Class tests, exams and assessment13.003.00
Group learning44.0016.00
Independent online learning hours20.00
Private study hours209.00
Total Contact hours71.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Private study

Formal online learning:
8 hours practising use of computer simulation packages for dispersion calculations (e.g. using ADMS4)
Group Learning:
20 hours of group sessions to plan impact assessment case study, partly supported by staff.
Independent online learning:
20 hours computer practical practice
Private study:
2 hours reading per lecture (excluding revision classes) (82h)
30 hours private study to contribute towards completion of group course work assignment
35 hour for completion of numerical control examples
25 hours for completion of numerical course work on control of air pollution
35 hours exam revision

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Progress will be monitored through meetings with the project groups during the semester to discuss the decisions they are making regarding their air quality impact assessment.
Submissions from the computer coursework set under the control of air pollution section will provide means to assess the students' numeracy skills required for the exam. Feedback will highlight specific weaknesses in the students' work requiring strengthening or enhanced revision before the exam.
A revision class will be held towards the end of term and the students will be asked to submit sample answers to past exam papers - particularly overseas students.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Computer ExerciseBased on case study20.00
Group ProjectReport15.00
PresentationBased on group project10.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)45.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Online Time-Limited assessment3 hr 55.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)55.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 30/06/2021 16:24:15


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