Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Biorefining Technologies
Academic Year
Distance Learning
Exclusive (Any Acad Year)
Reading List
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Essay  on an aspect of extraction, microbial biotechnology and fermentation technologies (2,500 words)  45%
Semester Assessment Interactive Task  (Minimum 1200 words)  25%
Semester Assessment Case report  on biorefining (2,000 words)  30%
Supplementary Assessment Students must take elements of assessment equivalent to those that led to the failure of the module  100%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Demonstrate a detailed fundamental and practical knowledge of Biorefining including pre-processing, processing and product isolation.

2. Evaluate the relative limitations and merits of different extraction, Microbial biotechnology and fermentation technologies.

3. Assess the social and societal issues associated with the application (and non-application) of different biotechnology options, and evaluate these processes via Life Cycle Assessment.

4. Communicate scientific issues to both the scientific community and other stakeholders including policy makers and the public.

Brief description

Drawing on research from both Aberystwyth and Bangor Universities this module will look in detail at current and emerging technologies, examine the validity of mining for value added minor components whilst leaving large quantities of biomass for secondary processing; and look at layered approaches to valorisation e.g. within micro-algae.


To provide students with in-depth knowledge of the aims, objectives and the technologies used in the biorefining of sustainable feedstocks.


The module will provide a series of units focused on:
  • thermochemical conversion,
  • enzyme discovery and synthetic enzymes,
  • microbe bio-prospecting,
  • microbiology biotechnology,
  • metabolic engineering and relating genome sequence to metabolic pathways,
  • biomass pre-treatments/upstream processing,
  • anaerobic digestion,
  • separation technologies,
  • life cycle analysis,
  • design and construction of an integrated biorefinery,
  • chemometric data analysis,
  • predicting chemical phenotype at high throughput,
  • natural products and conversion to industrial products by green chemistries.
  • The module will deliver the content through a series of recorded lectures, interviews and discussions between researchers at IBERS. The students will be given a reading list of 'essential' and 'recommended' articles and books. They will be expected to interact through forums with other students and the course tutor/researcher. The module will also contain assessments which will encourage students to apply the research they learn in the module to real-life scenarios.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Problem solving, simulated chemometric data analysis formative assessment.
Communication Students will be expected to be able to express themselves appropriately in their assignments.
Improving own Learning and Performance Detailed feedback will be given for assignment work. This will be assessed through the feedback providing general guidance towards the student's next assignment. Especially with the formative assignment that will be due before any summative assignments.
Information Technology Students will be required to source information from a variety of scientific publication data bases and to use Blackboard for all aspects of the module.
Personal Development and Career planning This module will provide the students with the latest research into conversion, separation and transformation technology to help them provide the most up-to-date information/advice to their colleagues/clients in the biotech Industry.
Problem solving Online forum posts will be used to help develop and improve student's problem solving skills, through use of questions that present theoretical problems for the students to solve.
Research skills Students will be required to undergo directed self-study and so will develop their literature research skills.
Subject Specific Skills Subject specific concepts relating conversion, separation and transformation technology will be developed and assessed throughout the module.
Team work Online assessments will require students to debate among themselves to develop a consensus of opinion.


This module is at CQFW Level 7