BGS news

BGS to play its part in circular economy centres to drive UK to sustainable future

The British Geological Survey (BGS) will be at the heart of two pioneering new research centres designed to help drive the UK towards a circular economy and a more sustainable future.

13/11/2020 By BGS Press
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BGS expertise will contribute to the development of two new UKRI-funded Interdisciplinary Circular Economy Centres:

  • Interdisciplinary Circular Economy Centre in Technology Metals
  • Interdisciplinary Circular Economy Centre for Mineral-based Construction Materials

They are part of five new centres announced on 11 November as part of a £22.5 million Government investment to explore how closing the loop for materials in the textiles, construction, chemical and metal industries can deliver huge environmental benefits and boost the UK economy.

The UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) interdisciplinary circular economy centres will help the UK move towards a circular economy, which will provide significant benefits by:

  • reducing waste
  • lowering the environmental impact of production and consumption in the UK and abroad
  • securing supply for critical raw materials
  • creating opportunities for new UK industries
Global metal production
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Global metal production 2017 data from BGS World Mineral Statistics Database.

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The Interdisciplinary Circular Economy Centre in Technology Metals will be led by the University of Exeter and is designed to revolutionise how critical metals are extracted, used and reused in low-carbon and digital technologies across the UK.

As part of this centre, BGS will be responsible for the development of a Circular Economy National Virtual Data Observatory (NVO) to deliver stocks and flows data and information for a range of technology metals. It will form a key part of the centre’s work to explore ways to create a circular economy for the technology metals such as cobalt, rare earths and lithium, essential for low-carbon and digital technologies such as electric cars and wind turbines.

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We are very excited to be given the opportunity to develop this National Virtual Data Observatory (NVO) in the UK, which will bridge the data gap about the whole cycle of technology metals.

The geoscience community has a wide range of tools, methods and skills that are transferable to the challenges of the circular economy.

Dr Evi Petavratzi, BGS Mineral Commodity Expert.

The centre aims to develop a new cycle, right from the first stages of extraction, to enable secure and environmentally-acceptable circulation of these materials within the UK economy.

It will bring together experts from the University of Exeter and the Camborne School of Mines, the Universities of Birmingham, Manchester, Leicester and BGS, as well as 40 partner companies and organisations.

The Interdisciplinary Circular Economy Centre for Mineral-based Construction Materials will be led by University College London and aims to develop systems for more efficient use and recovery of mineral resources in the UK’s construction sector.

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