Dr Zubera Iqbal PhD, BSc

Dr Zubera Iqbal

School of Chemical Engineering
Faraday Institute Research Fellow

Contact details

University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dr Zubera Iqbal is a Faraday Institution Research Fellow based in the School of Chemical Engineering.

Her research focuses on recycling lithium-ion batteries, as part of the Faraday Battery Challenge, a UK wide strategy designed to accelerate the development of battery technologies to become the worldwide lead in energy. The University of Birmingham is leading the Recycling and Reuse of the Lithium-ion Batteries, aiming to recycle 100% of the batteries making better use of global resources.

Zubera has worked on both UK and EU funded project, collaborating between industry and academia. Her current research focuses on the use of microbes to recover the strategic metal lithium, as well as other metals of interest. She has presented at various conferences and seminars (including the BBC), speaking about the importance of recycling metals. Zubera is also involved in outreach work, helping to encourage students into STEM careers.


  • PhD in Chemical Engineering, 2015
  • AF in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, 2013
  • BSc (Hons) in Chemistry, 2010


Dr Zubera Iqbal - Recycling Lithium ion batteries

Zubera Iqbal obtained a BSc Chemistry from the University of Birmingham in 2010, and then completed a PhD under the supervision of Professor Neil Rowson and Professor Stuart Blackburn in 2015. Her thesis was on the recovery of lithium mica from mineral waste, lithium is classified as a strategic metal due to its limited availability. The research successfully recovered lithium using novel bioprocessing technique, which was recognised by Innovate UK and awarded a grant for a research fellow post.  

Zubera interest in this mineral processing led her to join a start-up company, Graphitene in 2015, based in Lincolnshire. Here she developed processes to recover Graphene from its raw form. Her work was supported by academics at The University of Cambridge. Later she joined the Ministry of Defence in Bristol, as a Weapons Scientist, supporting defence personnel across the globe. In 2018, she joined the University of Birmingham as a Faraday Institute Research fellow, recycling spent lithium-ion batteries to recover strategic metals.


MSc module: Modern Mineral Engineering

Postgraduate supervision

For PhD opportunities, please contact Zubera Iqbal


Research Themes

  • Recovery and recycling critical and strategic metals.
  • Bioleaching of metals.
  • Mineral Processing.

Funded projects

  • EPSRC Funding: Lithium recovery from kaolin mining waste material.
  • EU funded: Improving processes for Graphene production.
  • Faraday Institute: Recycling of Lithium-ion batteries project.

Other activities

Outreach activities


  • Iqbal, Z., Rowson, N.A., Blackburn, S., (2013), Recovery of lithium rich mica from mineral waste, 23rd International Mining Congress and Exhibition of Turkey, IMCET 2013, 2, pp. 887-891.
  • Iqbal, Z., Rowson N.A., Blackburn, S., (2013), Recovery of Lithium rich mica from mineral waste, 23rd World Mining Congress, WMC 2013, pp. 866-871.
  • Iqbal, Z., and Rowson N.A., (2012), Lithium Recovery from Kaolin Mining Waste Material, 2nd International Conference on Environmental Pollution and Remediation, ICEPR 2012, pp. 254-259.

View all publications in research portal