About us

The Birmingham Centre for Strategic Elements & Critical Materials encompasses expertise from across the University of Birmingham and the Birmingham Energy Institute in biosciences, chemical engineering, chemistry, economics, law, materials science, physics and social science.

Experts within centre are developing new science to allow us to address the challenges posed by supply constraints on strategic elements and critical materials. We are working on the development of new recycling processes to enable the recovery of critical materials from end of life products, mining wastes and even road dust. We are looking at ways to re-use components containing strategic and critical elements, and developing new processing techniques to use these materials more efficiently. An important focus of the centre is also on the substitution of either the technology or the critical elements contained within a wide range of products.

The University of Birmingham carries out significant research activity on strategic and critical elements across many disciplines, including: recycling and efficient use of rare earth metals in magnets (Metallurgy & Materials); recovery and recycling of precious metals from batteries; replacement of lithium and cobalt in batteries (Chemistry); efficient use and replacement of precious metals for catalysis (Chemistry, Physics and Chemical Engineering); recovery of lithium and platinum group metals (Chemical Engineering and Biosciences).

The problems encountered by strategic and critical materials are often driven by economic or political factors and this draws in other expertise from across campus including Economics, Social Sciences and Law.