Reusing and Recycling Energy Technologies at Birmingham brings together academics from different backgrounds in order to develop, trial and assess technologies for extending the life of energy technologies. We are working to find new and more efficient ways to recycle and reuse batteries, magnets and other critical materials used in the energy system.
The energy industry is in a period of dynamic and rapid change, driven by the need to address climate change and other environmental impacts of our energy use, as well as changing patterns of energy consumption arising from the rapid growth of smartphones and mobile computing.
These changing patterns of energy use are driving global demand for rare earth elements, platinum group metals and other strategically important materials found in batteries, wind turbines and a high tech equipment. This raises the prospect of a future where our dependency on fossil fuels is replaced by reliance on other resources in scarce supply. Furthermore, there are serious environmental impacts associated with the use of strategic elements and critical materials, and these will only become more significant as demand continues to grow.
At the University of Birmingham, we are anticipating the challenges that lie ahead with new technologies. End of life energy technologies offer a compelling source of strategic elements, but also present a waste management problem. We are developing solutions for the waste streams of the future that will generate economic value and materials security – as well as intercepting waste materials before they pose a problem to the environment.
The growth of electric vehicles, for example, raises both challenges and opportunities for what to do with batteries no longer capable of operating at the level drivers expect. One option we are exploring is to adapt these batteries so that they can be reused in energy storage applications.
We have a bold ambition to develop an Advanced Materials Recycling Centre at the Tyseley Energy Park, one of the Energy Innovation Zones within Energy Capital. The centre will combine our expertise in robotics and automation with new processes and chemistries for the recovery of the next generation of scrap from energy applications.
For more information about Reusing and Recycling Energy Technologies at Birmingham, please contact the following members of staff:
Professor of Critical and Magnetic Materials
Co-Director of the Birmingham Centre for Strategic Elements and Critical Materials
School of Metallurgy and Materials
- (+44) (0) 121 414 5195