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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
Dr Jurgita Malinauskaite -   Jurgita Malinauskaite is Professor of Law and the Head of Brunel Law School (BLS) working at the University since January 2008. She gained her Doctorate in 2006. Jurgita is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy since 2010 and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy since 2019. Prior to committing herself to academia, she served as a competition lawyer at the Competition Council of Lithuania. She previously held various positions: August 2021 to May 2023, she was the Divisional Lead for Private and Commercial Law (BLS); and the University’s Aurora Champion (2018-2021) leading and supporting Women in Academia with their career progression. Jurgita was also the Athena Swan Lead for BLS (2017-2020) where she successfully led the department to achieve an Athena Swan Bronze Award, becoming the first non-STEMM BUL department to receive this award. She was also the Associate Dean for Equality and Diversity (CBASS), 2015-2018. Her research expertise lies in competition law, energy law, and waste law, also embracing interdisciplinary aspects. She has published three books: Merger Control in Post-Communist Countries, Routledge, 2010; Harmonisation of EU Competition Law Enforcement, Springer, 2019; and 'Sustainable Energy Technology, Business Models, and Policies Theoretical Peripheries and Practical Implications', Elsevier, 2023 (co-authored with Professor Jouhara). She has also published widely in leading journals, including: Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, Energy, Energy Policy etc. She has received a number of funding awards, including from the European Commission, Innovate UK (the UK Research and Innovation). For example, she is a Co-I of three Horizon 2020 projects: i) ETEKINA (heat pipE TECHnologies for INdustrial Applications, 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 2020-2024 No 958274. Jurgita was a member of the Law Sub-Panel, recruited by the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic for the Slovak Republic Periodic Evaluation of Research in 2022. She was the expert reviewer of funding applications submitted to the Academy of Finland, “Energy Solutions as Part of a Just Green Transition” 2023 programme of the Strategic Research Council (SRC) 2023. Jurgita is also the expert reviewer of funding applications submitted to the National Science Centre, Poland and an expert panel member in 2022 and 2023.

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Project last modified 16/01/2024