Dr Zubera Iqbal BSc, PhD

Zubera Iqbal

School of Engineering
ARLI Research Engineer

Contact details

University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dr Zubera Iqbal is an ARLI Research Engineer, based in the School of Engineering.

Her research interests include developing new materials from waste streams, reducing raw materials use and commercialisation of novel products. Currently working in the “Alternative Raw Materials with Low Impact” group ARLI-CREST, based in the School of Engineering.

Dr Iqbal previously worked on a £14.1m project with the Faraday Institution, to Recycle and Re-use Lithium-ion Batteries to help achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

She is actively engaged in outreach opportunities and  was recently featured in the Royal Society of Chemistry’s campaign “Chemistry fixing the future”.


  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, 2020
  • PhD in Chemical Engineering, University of Birmingham, 2015
  • BSc (Hons) in Chemistry, University of Birmingham, 2010


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


Research themes


  • Generation of new materials from waste to provide a circular economy
  • Sustainability in the supply chain
  • Critical metal recovery from waste Li-ion batteries sourced from EVs
  • Improve environmental impact, with cost effective solutions through reduced carbon emission

Funded projects

  • Faraday Institution: Recycling and reuse of EV Lithium-ion batteries (ReLiB)
  • UKRI: Reclamation, Remanufacture of Lithium ion Batteries (R2LIB)
  • EPSRC: Lithium recovery from kaolin mining waste materials
  • EU: Improving recovery processes for Graphite materials

Other 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