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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Soil and Energy Science
Module Code CS421
School School of Chemical Sciences
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Brian Kelleher
Semester 2: Brian Kelleher
Autumn: Brian Kelleher
Module TeachersBlanaid White
Brian Kelleher
Kieran Nolan
NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None
Repeat examination

This module will include 3 sections - soil, waste and energy. These components will cover the following topics: Soil: This module will give investigate the chemical, physical and biological nature of soils. We will explore different functions of soil and how best to analyse soil components. Waste: " Municipal solid Waste Incineration (MSWI) - a waste treatment process that involves the combustion of organic substances contained in waste materials. The course material will cover this technology including the processes involved and the chemical emissions. " Recycling of solid plastic waste - Plastic solid waste (PSW) of polymers is creating new challenges, which in today's scenario are major concerns. This huge increase in plastic commodities increases the waste generation. This course will look at the recycling and progress in recovery and management of PSW by different methods (i.e. Primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary) along with the various identification/separation techniques. Energy: " To develop an appreciation of the complexity of the energy question. " To introduce the student to the role of chemistry in the production and use of energy. " To provide the student with knowledge of the past, modern and future methods of energy production. " To provide the student with an awareness of current trends, opportunities and challenges in energy production.

Learning Outcomes

1. o Describe the most important components of soils;
2. Outline the principal factors governing the formation of soils;
3. Analyse and describe the properties of soils using field and lab instrumentation
4. Define and explain the importance of soil structure in relation to the availability of soil air and water to plant roots.
5. o The students will understand the technology behind MSWI as a process, aswell as the waste to energy recovery technologies
6. o The students will learn about the state of the art in terms of recycling of solid plastic waste
7. o To be aware of the complex nature of energy production and use.
8. o To understand the technical aspects of energy production and use
9. o To understand the chemistry behind energy production and use
10. o To be aware of the latest advances in energy production
11. o To be aware of current energy related environmental issues.
12. o To be aware of the future directions/possibilities for energy production and use

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture24No Description
Independent Study100No Description
Total Workload: 124

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

- Introduction - basic concepts - Natural energy flows. - Human energy consumption. - Fossils fuels; - Origins, carbon cycle, coal, oil, gas. - Introduction to nuclear energy; - Radioactivity, naturally occurring isotopes, fission, fission reactors, hazards, fusion. - Introduction to renewable energy; - Solar heating, solar electricity, biomass, biofuels (agriculture, biodiesel, bioethanol), anaerobic digestion, hydro, wind, ocean and geothermal energy. - Future clean energy; e.g. hydrogen, fusion, renewables.

Soil topics covered include an introduction to soils, soil formation and soil types, soil properties, soil biology and soil chemistry. Soil texture, mineralogical and chemical composition of soil, soil structure, bulk density and pore space, aggregation promotion and stability, soil air Cation exchange capacity, percentage base saturation, soil pH, buffering capacity in soils, specific conductivity soil organisms, soil microbiology, carbon cycle, decomposition of organic matter, characteristics of organic matter,

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment0% Examination Weight100%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

  • Michael E Essington: 2015, Soil and water chemistry: an integrative approach, 9781466573154
  • Bohn, Hinrich L, 1934-; McNeal, Brian Lester, 1938-; O'Connor, George A, 1944-: 0, Soil Chemistry, 9780471363392
  • Donald L. Sparks: 0, Environmental soil chemistry, 9780126564464
  • Rachel Creamer, Lilian O Sullivan: 2018, The Soils of Ireland, Springer International Publishing, 9783319711898
  • Robert E White: 0, Principles and Practice of Soil Science: The Soil as a Natural Resource, 978-0-632-064
Other Resources

Programme or List of Programmes
ASBSc in Analytical Science
ESTBSc in Environmental Science & Tech
SEBSc Science Education
SHSAStudy Abroad (Science & Health)
SHSAOStudy Abroad (Science & Health)

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