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Batteries recycling and recovery in a circular economy

The need to reduce carbon emissions, that directly impacts climate change, and to increase resource efficiency requires investigating more environmentally-friendly solutions to provide energy.

Renewable energies are the best solutions; however, they greatly rely on batteries, which are now the new challenge in terms of sustainable production and e-Waste management. For instance, e-Waste is one of the global rising problems in developing countries, such as India, where the demand for lithium-ion batteries, used in electric vehicles and for storage from renewable sources and grid stability, is growing significantly. Therefore, it is anticipated that e-Waste will continue to grow in India and will become a new environmental and health hazard as there are currently no other waste management options available other than landfilling.

Tackling this problem requires the exploration of new techno-commercial solutions and policy frameworks to enable a sustainable end-of-life management of battery e-Waste worldwide, which will allow the reuse of scarce resources through remanufacturing (recycling, refurbishing and reusing), simultaneously reassuring the safe management of e-Waste, mitigating environmental and social burdens. Therefore, the main purpose of this project is to explore the current situation and challenges faced in the UK and India in terms of technology, supply chain and policy enablers towards implementing circular economy principles in the e-Waste management of lithium-ion batteries.

The following key points will be addressed during the project:

  • Lithium battery manufacturing in the UK - manufacturing and supply chain
  • Lithium recovery technologies (commercial and R&D): best practices
  • Update of e-Waste legislative frameworks in the UK and India: facing current challenges

Meet the Principal Investigator(s) for the project

Dr Jurgita Malinauskaite -   I am the Head of Brunel Law School (BLS) working for the University since January 2008. I gained my Professorship in 2021 and my Doctorate in 2006. Before committing myself to academia, I served as a competition lawyer at the Competition Council of Lithuania. From August 2021 to May 2023 I was the Divisional Lead for Private and Commercial Law and the Aurora Champion from (2018-2021) to lead and support Women in Academia with their career progression. I was also the Athena Swan Lead for BLS (from 2017-2020) where I successfully led our department to achieve an Athena Swan Bronze Award, becoming the first non-STEMM BUL department to receive this award. I was also the Associate Dean for Equality and Diversity (CBASS) 2015-2018. My research expertise lies in competition law, energy law, and waste law. I am the author of numerous journal articles as well as two monographs: Merger Control in Post-Communist Countries, Routledge, 2010; and Harmonisation of EU Competition Law Enforcement, Springer, 2019. My current focus is on interdisciplinary research. I am also a Co-I of three Horizon 2020 projects: i) ETEKINA (heat pipE TECHnologies for INdustrial Applications, further information on: 2017-2021; ii) InComEss (Innovative Polymer-Based Composite Systems for High-Efficient Energy Scavenging and Storage) 2020-2023; and iii) iWAYS (Innovative WAter recoverY Solutions through recycling of heat, materials and water across multiple sectors); The project - iWays.

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Project last modified 21/06/2021