The Birmingham Centre for Strategic Elements & Critical Materials launch event on 29th March 2017

Panel discussion session left to right: Sverker Sjolin from Stena Technoworld, Dr. Emma Schofield from Johnson Matthey, Andrew Bloodworth from BGS, and Neil Glover from Rolls Royce. Photo Copyright Ed Loye.
Dr Allan Walton introducing BCSECM. Photo Copyright Ed Loye.

The launch event of Birmingham Centre for Strategic Elements & Critical Materials (BCSECM) on 29th March 2017 saw a good turnout of a diverse range of speakers and guests, including geologists, material scientists, and industry including Less Common Metals and Rolls Royce.

The centre aims to address the challenges posed by supply constraints on strategic elements and critical materials – notably REE, platinum group metals (PGM), and Co as well recognised examples. This includes development of new recycling processes to enable the recovery of critical materials from end of life products, mining wastes and even road dust.

The University of Birmingham has significant research activity on strategic and critical elements across many disciplines including recycling and efficient use of REE in magnets (Metallurgy & Materials); lithium and cobalt in batteries, including developing substitutes (Chemistry); efficient use and/or replacement of PGMs for catalysis (Chemistry, Physics and Chemical Engineering); recovery of lithium and PGMs from waste streams (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 in the Schools of Economics, Social Science and Law.

Andrew Bloodworth explaining the diverse range of elements we use today. Photo Copyright Ed Loye.

An interdisciplinary approach of national and international collaborators, from both in academia and industry, the centre is intending to define the landscape for the future across the whole life-cycle of these important yet vulnerable commodities. See video

One of the guest speakers was Andrew Bloodworth from BGS presenting the primary source of critical metals and the ongoing collaboration the BGS has with the Midlands university network Energy Research Accelerator (ERA) , and The Critical Metals Alliance with University of Exeter, and NERC funded projects such as the SoS Minerals program including SoS RARE

Visit the BCSECM site here

Ed Loye, March 2017


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