The INSPIRE team
The project brings together a multidisciplinary team of researchers from the School of Engineering and the School of Bioscience at Cardiff University, the Chemistry department at Warwick University and the Centre for Sustainable Planning and Environments and Science Communication Unit at the University of the West of England.
In situ resource recovery
Our objective is to explore whether energy and valuable metals can be recovered from landfills and mine sites in situ, thus avoiding the need to actively mine the material and thereby minimise ecological and environmental impacts.
Our research will focus on a diverse range of key UK wastes: industrial waste, municipal solid waste, metallurgical and mining wastes that have been placed in geological storage. We envisage that our new in situ leaching processes could sidestep many of the environmental and health risks that prevent realisation of the resource potential of waste repositories in the UK and worldwide.
Societies have historically disposed of vast quantities of industrial, municipal, metallurgical and mining waste in the ground. Generally considered as a legacy waste issue, this research project seeks to reconsider waste repositories as “resource hubs” for future recovery of valuable metals and energy.
Lower environmental impact
Non-invasive in situ recovery techniques currently being developed by the INSPIRE team could potentially sidestep many problems associated with conventional ‘excavation-and-process’ mining techniques. This work will allow preservation of our rich mining heritage whilst also significantly lowering their environmental footprint.