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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/Y001141/1
Title: BEAR - Bioleaching and Electrodialytic Applications for metal Recovery from wastes
Principal Investigator: Gomes, Dr H
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Cast Metals Federation F.J. Church & Sons Ltd Technical University of Denmark
Department: Faculty of Engineering
Organisation: University of Nottingham
Scheme: Standard Research - NR1
Starts: 01 January 2024 Ends: 31 December 2025 Value (£): 165,517
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Waste Management
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
24 May 2023 ECR International Collaboration Grants Panel 2 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Metals are essential in our daily lives and have a finite supply. For example, smartphones are pocket-sized vaults of critical metals, as they contain several rare earth elements (REE) that produce the colours in the liquid crystal display, and others give the screen its glow. The magnets in the speaker, microphone and vibration units also contain REE. The current CO2 emissions and environmental impact of mining those metals are untenable. The supply chain of these metals is also dependent on geopolitical conditions, and currently, China is the world's largest producer. To decrease our reliance on critical metal mining, we need new efficient, low-cost, low-energy and environmentally friendly solutions to recover metals from waste. This project will start a new collaboration between UK and Denmark, joining teams that complement each other in their expertise. Exchange visits and a workshop will facilitate this collaborative research that aims to develop an environmentally friendly method to recover critical metals from wastes. We will be using metal-tolerant bacteria isolated from different environments and exploiting their capability to solubilise metals in a reactor with a low-level electric current. This new approach will combine two different technologies - bioleaching and electrodialysis. Bioleaching uses acid-producing bacteria to solubilise metals from various ores and wastes. However, the process can be very slow, and further separation processes are needed, so it will be combined with electrodialysis. Electrodialysis uses a low-level electric current to transport ions through a membrane. The metals that bacteria solubilise from waste can be transported and separated by the electric current and more easily recovered. This project will demonstrate how we can combine these technologies, providing a direct route for scaling up and applying to different wastes, contributing to more efficient and sustainable resource use, recovering value from waste and minimising pollution.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Project URL:  
Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk