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Round 2 Feasibility Studies

Round 2

Awarded to Dr Pierre Josso, BGS

Map the gap: quantifying the circularity of the UK lithium-ion battery

Establishing secure and sustainable supplies of battery raw materials will be essential for attracting battery manufacturers to the UK. The UK is currently almost entirely dependent on imports for the cathode metals (i.e. lithium, cobalt, nickel and manganese) used to produce lithium-ion batteries (LIBs). Domestic recycling will become increasingly important if the UK adopts regulations on the minimum levels of recycled content (e.g. 12% cobalt, 4% nickel, 4% lithium) in LIBs.

Dr. Josso and his team will temporally model stocks and flows of secondary resources of cathode raw materials in the UK economy under various scenarios to determine:
i. How they compare to the total projected domestic demand for cathode raw materials for domestic LIB manufacture up to 2050; and
ii. When the UK will be able to supply the minimum levels of recycled content required in LIBs from
domestic stocks.

CENTS Mentor: Dr. Evi Petarvratzi


Awarded to Dr Gustavo M. Castelluccio, Cranfield University

Life Extension of Materials in Transport 

A rapid adaptation into a circular economy often clashes with change-averse industries in which risk is mitigated by years of experience and slow transition into new engineering designs.

The aerospace industry is one example in which the complexities and uncertainties in the operation limit the introduction of novel and more circular materials. This project will introduce the concept of preventive maintenance for materials and explores the potential of metal fatigue healing therapies to extend the life of components before repurposing or recycling.

Dr. Casteluccio and his team seek to identify which therapies can be applied to metallic materials, what is their circularity impact and how likely are they to be successfully adopted by the industry. The results will support future research into healing approaches with good circularity potential and being friendly to a risk-averse industry.

CENTS Mentor: Prof Mark Jolly
life extension of materials
Awarded to Dr. Anwar Sattar, WMG, University of Warwick

Recovery of Transport Battery Metals for a Circular Value Chain 

This project will address the recycling of lithium from end-of-life (EoL) lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) using a novel electrolytic process. The output from the process is 100% pure lithium hydroxide which can go straight back into new batteries.

Over 90% of the world’s EoL LIBs are recycled using inefficient and environmentally polluting pyrometallurgical processes, but they are unable to recover lithium as it is too reactive hence discarded in slags. The proposed electrolytic process is agnostic to battery chemistries and offers recyclability of any battery metals (e.g. nickel, cobalt, manganese) and can be integrated into recycling technologies currently in development (which are lesser polluting mechanical and hydrometallurgical processes).

The purpose of this project is about keeping and reusing battery metals as long as possible; thus reducing carbon footprint of electrified transportation systems and achieving circularity in the value chain.

CENTS Mentor: Prof Kerry Kirwan

battery picture

FS 2
Awarded to Dr. Sefer Anil Gunbeyaz, University of Strathclyde

Circular Economy- Increased Value Extraction from End of Life Marine Assets 

Shipping is classed as one of the most energy efficient transport modes, but it currently lags behind other sectors in terms of circular economy approaches. There is a need to “close the loop” to minimise waste and to increase the revenue stream. Ship recycling contributes significantly in reducing the demand for emission of intensive mining of iron ore and new steel production, through the utilisation of steel scrap.

This project will look at materials and equipment from ships that are currently being underutilised in terms of their potential for reuse, remanufacturing and recycling, and the issues surrounding the conditions where the vast majority of ships are currently being recycled.

In order tackle this gap a circular economy framework for maritime industry will be developed by

i) identifying the barriers for the successful implementation

ii) mapping the high-value and high-risk items on board ships,

iii) identifying the current and potential reuse, remanufacture and recycle rates through investigation of the market

iv) identification of technology solutions and creating the overall structure for software and hardware to support the end-of-life strategies for a high potential and/or high-risk items.

CENTS Mentor: Prof Richard Murphy
benefits to industrry
Awarded to Dr Sumit Hazra, WMG, University of Warwick

Digital Twins of Transport Vehicles for the Circular Economy 

This project aims to assess the feasibility of digital twins to enable the circular economy of the transport sector, particularly the heavy duty and off-road vehicle sectors.

This sector is difficult to decarbonise through electrification but emitted 19 times more emissions per vehicle than a car (2016). A route to decarbonisation is to reduce future manufacturing emissions by reusing and remanufacturing end-of-life vehicle chassis. The chassis makes up to half the mass of a vehicle but the main barrier to reuse and remanufacture is determining its remaining fatigue life at the end-of life. This is difficult to determine because HDOR vehicles are designed to be used in many operational modes (eg. excavating vs. drilling), which impose different vibration patterns on the chassis.

Dr. Hazra and his team will determine the fatigue life of the digital twin of the chassis. The digital twin will receive data from sensors mounted on the chassis that will monitor the vibration of the vehicle, classify the data into the operational modes of the vehicle and the time spent in these modes and then calculate the remaining fatigue life of the chassis.

CENTS Mentor: Prof Kerry Kirwan
Digital twins
Awarded to Professor Steve Evans and Dr. Saul Jones, Centre for Industrial Sustainability, University of Cambridge

Transport Circularity roadmaps: Conflict and compatibility with Zero Carbon goals

Sustainability is a multivariable parameter space spanning Biodiversity, Air Quality, Diversity & Inclusivity, reduction in GHGs, Material and Energy Efficiency etc.

There is demand for rapid change on an industrial scale never before required, and we don't have time to learn the hard way when improvement in one area is not aligned to progress in another.

We risk generating roadmaps in a siloed manner as we have never done this before. The effects of our choices will take decades to manifest. Hindsight is not sufficient, and we must develop our foresight in this emerging field.

This project sets out as a gap-finding exercise, starting with existing published sustainability roadmaps within the UK transport sector and industrial case studies to see whether there are foreseeable conflicts or synergies between commitments to Net Zero targets and movement towards a Circular Economy within the UK transport sector.

CENTS Mentor: Prof Steve Evans