R3AW is now a CL:AIRE Research Project

We are pleased to announce that R3AW has been approved by the CL:AIRE Technology and Research Group as CL:AIRE Research Project RP26.

CL:AIRE (Contaminated Land: Applications in Real Environments), the public-private partnership which disseminates best practice to the UK contaminated land sector was already a project partner. Now, with this approval, the project will have a wider broadcast among CL:AIRE members.

The distribution of R3AW results through CL:AIRE will promote interest from developers and consultants in adopting new approaches to managing legacy wastes, particularly those engaged in brownfield developments. According to CL:AIRE, their bulletins, project reports, eAlerts, conferences and workshops, and their website portal reach over 2,000 contacts in the UK and abroad.





Come join us in Boston, at the American Association of Geographers’ Annual Conference

Although the development of a circular economy has the potential to alter existing economic trajectories in ways that are more favourable to the environment, the concept has been increasingly subject to critical evaluation. Some commentators see the circular economy as yet another manifestation of ecological modernisation, whereby technological change and appropriate environmental management techniques are deemed sufficient to address global environmental concerns. Thus “little has been said about the socio-political implications and possibilities for shifting current production-consumption-use-waste practices” (Hobson, 2016: 89), nor about the realities of the “messy world” of the circular economy beyond the ‘perfect circles’ of materials and waste envisaged by policy makers (Gregson et al., 2015). As with its predecessor concepts of industrial ecology and industrial symbiosis, the reality of implementation may be a long way from the neat conceptualisations envisaged in the world of policy documents and websites. Moreover, individual product and material cycles cannot be understood in isolation, but need to be viewed as part of a wider system influenced by both the individual elements at work and the context in which they operate. Life cycle thinking and systems thinking can provide a useful entry point into understanding these contexts in order to comprehend the way in which individual elements can impact upon evolution and promotion of a circular economy. The aim of this session is to bring together researchers approaching the concept of a circular economy from a wide range of perspectives in order to further understanding of the barriers to and implications of implementation. We invite a wide range of contributions from those concerned with, and researching into, the circular economy, the green economy, systems analysis, life cycle analysis, degrowth and alternative economy scenarios. We would welcome contributions addressing related issues including, but not limited to, following questions:

  • What are the barriers to developing a circular economy beyond the dominant focus on the technological aspects of resource and material flow management? In particular, what are the institutional and regulatory barriers to change?
  • What are the alternatives to a circular economy policy that focuses on improving technical efficiency without questioning current business and economic growth models?  Are there alternative circular economy practices that align with other conceptualisations of production and growth, such as degrowth?
  • What shifts in routines and practices are required to develop a circular economy and how can these be conceptualised? For example, how do various business and policy actors change their routines? Can we see the development of ‘communities of practice’ around circular economy initiatives?
  • What are the broader socio-political implications of a circular economy agenda? Which forms of governance can encourage or facilitate the circular economy? What is the role of individuals and regulatory structures?
  • The circular economy envisages the world as a set of interwoven systems, but how does a systems approach alter our perspective view of the economy and how do changes in one part of the system impact upon other areas?
  • How can methodologies such as life cycle sustainability assessment be used most effectively to communicate the benefits and impacts of the circular economy to all sectors of society including decision and policy makers?

Please submit an abstract of no more than 250 words for consideration for inclusion in the session by October 7th via email to Helen Baxter (helen.baxter@hull.ac.uk), David Gibbs (d.c.gibbs@hull.ac.uk) or Pauline Deutz (p.deutz@hull.ac.uk). Participants will be notified by October 17th if their paper has been accepted and will then need to register for the conference and provide their PIN to the organisers by October 24th in order to be included in the panel.

Details about the AAG 2017 Conference and how to register/submit an abstract are available here.


Written by Prof. David Gibbs, Dr Pauline Deutz and Dr Helen Baxter, University of Hull.

New open access paper on V recovery

Out team just published a new paper on vanadium recovery from red mud leachates using ion exchange resins. The paper is available on open access here.


Bauxite residue or red mud is an important by-product of the alumina industry, and current management practices do not allow their full valorisation, especially with regard to the recovery of critical metals, like vanadium.

This paper focus on vanadium removal and recovery from the leachates, with emphasis on the environmental remediation of bauxite residue disposal areas or closed legacy sites where vanadium is both a contaminant and a metal with economic interest present in the effluent.

As an environmental pollutant, removal of vanadium from leachates may be an obligation of bauxite residue disposal areas (BRDA) long-term management requirements. Vanadium removal from the leachate can be coupled with the recovery, and potentially can be used to offset long-term legacy treatment costs in legacy sites.

This study has shown that anion exchange resins can be used for metal removal and recovery from bauxite residue leachates in a highly alkaline pH range (up to 13).

The results showed that using simulated undiluted bauxite residue leachate as feed solution limited the resin efficacy, due to the presence of competing ions. However, the resins are very effective at V removal for simulated post-closure bauxite residue disposal areas (BRDA) effluent.

In the column experiments, V was readily eluted from the resins in concentrations similar to some industrial process liquors, which holds promise for recovery and recycling of V into downstream industrial processes.

Further research is required to scale-up laboratory findings. This should include assessment pretreatments and optimisation of operating parameters, such as flow rate and bed height. This will help facilitate life cycle assessments of anion exchange resins as a potentially efficient and cost-effective option for both the treatment of bauxite residue leachates and the recovery of metals of critical importance such as vanadium.