FABSOIL - samples
The infrastructure we build, and products we use and consume all have an associated carbon footprint. Circular economy strategies aim to reduce our overall carbon footprint by reusing, remaking and recycling as opposed to disposing and polluting at the end of a products life. As such, a key part of implementing circular economy methods relates to materials manufacturing alongside the social sciences, and 
At Plymouth, our research addresses a variety of challenges faced in delivering successful models. This includes developing a method through which the elements critical for EV batteries can be reused, identifying rare earth metals through plastic recycling, developing ground-breaking methods of making biodiesel from dirty old cooking oil and preventing plastic pollution from fishing gear in the world’s oceans.

Delivering circular economy models

ReCon Soil – reconstructed soils from waste

A € 2.5 million project is aiming to revolutionise how waste material from construction projects is managed. The initiative is bringing together scientists, industry and educators to revolutionise how construction waste materials are managed. They will develop and roll out at least three new soil recipes made from locally sourced construction waste, dredged sediments and agricultural by-products, which will be thoroughly investigated in laboratories in Plymouth, and then at sites in the UK and France, to monitor their effectiveness and potential environmental impact. 
ReCon soil

What's in a smartphone?

Have you ever wondered what is inside your smartphone? We don't mean texts and bytes of information, but the chemical elements that make up the device in your hand.

Researchers from the University's School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences - working as part of the Creative Associates programme - conceived an eye-catching project in which they blended a smartphone down into a fine powder and chemically analysed the results.

Learn more about the results

Innovative process enables the recycling and reuse of electric vehicle battery components on a commercial scale 

With a ban on the sale of petrol and diesel cars coming into force in 2030, the need for a reliable and sustainable supply of EV batteries has never been more pressing. Altilium Metals Ltd is working with the University to develop a method through which the elements critical for EV batteries can be reused and recycled through the extraction and recovery of the lithium, cobalt, nickel and manganese components. 
Recycling and reusing of electric vehicle battery components

Explore our transformational projects and key findings


Centre for Decarbonisation and Offshore Renewable Energy

Centre for Decarbonisation and Offshore Renewable Energy 

In response to climate change imperatives, we are bringing together a critical mass of leading research and expertise from across the University of Plymouth. Through co-creation and collaboration with partners from business, government and key communities from across the globe, the Centre aims to be a beacon for the University’s whole-system transdisciplinary approach to solutions-oriented research, accelerating sustainable developments in decarbonisation and renewable energy.