A number of UKCRIC partners have been awarded £4.35M from UKRI, to develop an Interdisciplinary Circular Economy Centre for Mineral-based Construction Materials (ICEC-MCM). This will help the UK construction industry make the transition to a greener, more sustainable future where it reduces waste, energy and pollution. The Centre will be led by Prof. Julia Stegemann from UCL, in partnership with Prof. Mohamed Osmani from Loughborough University and Prof. Leon Black from the University of Leeds. Other academic partners are from Imperial College London, the University of Sheffield, Lancaster University and the British Geological Survey, and the Centre will engage over 40 industrial partners.
The £8M programme of researchers will look at ways of embedding the principles of the circular economy across the construction industry, to move it away from a linear business model of raw materials being extracted, processed and then discarded - to one where materials are designed to be continually re-used. The new ICEC-MCM will address the problem through three approaches: looking at material stocks and flows, to enable better housekeeping for system-wide waste avoidance; solving technical barriers to circularity and looking at how business models and guidelines can encourage a move away from build-use-demolish - with solutions such as designing building modules that can be dismantled and reused, and identifying new uses for materials that are currently regarded as worthless.
Prof. Julia Stegemann says that the ICEC-MCM “will study how we use our mineral resources over the whole infrastructure life cycle and construction supply chain, to identify opportunities and develop technologies and practices to reduce use of virgin materials, waste, and environmental impacts such as greenhouse gas emissions and loss of biodiversity, and costs to businesses. We aim to identify new opportunities for business and support employment and up-skilling of the UK workforce”.
Read more on UKRI's website.