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CL:AIRE is pleased to announce that the research project “Resource Recovery and Remediation of Alkaline Wastes (R3AW)” has been approved by the CL:AIRE Technology and Research Group as CL:AIRE Research Project RP26.

The project involves an interdisciplinary team from the universities of Hull, Leeds, Newcastle, Huddersfield and Cardiff, which combines expertise in the biogeochemistry and remediation of highly alkaline waters with ESRC expertise in waste / environmental policy and stakeholder engagement.

The overriding aim of the work is to improve understanding of alkaline residue (e.g. steel slag, bauxite processing residue, PFA) biogeochemistry to develop passive remediation tools for highly alkaline leachates and maximise opportunities for resource recovery (e.g. bulk after-use of residues, metal recovery, carbon sequestration).  While opportunities for valorisation of these residues are widely regarded, they are often limited for a variety of non-technical reasons.  As such, we are also investigating the policy and governance structures around alkaline residues to highlight any barriers to effective resource recovery and remediation.

Specific objectives of the work to achieve this aim are:

1. Determine and optimize the biogeochemical controls on the leaching rates of e-tech metals and potential contaminants from alkaline residues under varying conditions.

2. Identify and trial substrates for pH buffering and optimal recovery of e-tech metals from alkaline residue leachates.

3. Assess the scale-dependency of metal leaching, recovery, carbon uptake and remediation via pilot field systems.

4. Undertake Integrated Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to quantify whole system benefits (environmental, economic, societal) of accelerated weathering of alkaline residues.

5. Through systematic stakeholder engagement and policy analysis, identify the institutional structures that govern the resource recovery process and examine the opportunities and constraints that these may impose.

Further information is available via the project website https://alkalineremediation.wordpress.com/