Wednesday, December 2, 2020

University of Leeds secures funding to give textiles and construction sectors more sustainable future

The University of Leeds has secured funding to help two large industrial sectors make the transition to a greener, more sustainable future where they reduce waste, energy and pollution. They are the textiles and construction sectors.

The Government believes it will result in businesses using fewer resources and having less impact on the environment. They also want it to spark innovation in product and material design and create jobs.

Researchers at Leeds will help embed the principles of the circular economy across the industrial sectors. That involves a shift away from a linear business model of raw materials being extracted, processed and then discarded – to one where materials are designed to be reused.

Environment Minister Rebecca Power said: “Creating a more circular economy for our waste and resources lies at the heart of this government’s transformative agenda for the environment, and we are committed to going further and faster to reduce, reuse and recycle more of our resources.”

In total, the Government announced five centres to drive circularity across the UK economy. Leeds is involved with two.

The Government hopes the initiative will reduce the amount of minerals extracted by the UK construction sector every day by half a million tonnes – and the generation of 154 million tonnes of mineral waste each year.

A group of universities including Leeds has received £4.5 million from UK Research and Innovation to establish and operate the research centre, known as the Interdisciplinary Circular Economy Centre for Minerals-Based Construction Materials.

Leon Black, Professor of Infrastructure Materials in the School of Civil Engineering, said: “We use huge quantities of construction materials in the UK and across the globe. This has a great environmental impact, from extraction of raw materials, through manufacture and processing, to end-of-life demolition. That approach is no longer sustainable.

“It wastes too many resources and hampers efforts for the UK to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.”

The construction industry is an important economic sector which is expected to be delivering £600 billion-worth of major infrastructure works over the next decade. The new research centre will address the problem through three approaches:

  • Looking at material stocks and flows, analysing at what point materials may become waste.
  • 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.
  • Identifying new uses for materials that are currently regarded as worthless once used.

The institutions involved in the Interdisciplinary Circular Economy Centre for Minerals-Based Construction Materials are University College London, which is leading the project, in partnership with the University of Leeds, Loughborough University, University of Sheffield, Imperial College London, Lancaster University and the British Geological Survey.

The Interdisciplinary Textile Circularity Centre aims to lessen the environmental impact of clothing in the UK. It will use household waste and used textiles to develop new textiles instead of relying on imported materials.

The emission levels caused by the UK’s textiles industry are almost as high as the total CO2 emitted through people using cars for private trips.

Phil Purnell, Professor of Materials and Structures in the School of Civil Engineering, is Deputy Director of the new centre.

He said: “The Textiles Circularity Centre will provide the underpinning research that will enable the transition to a more circular economy that supports a brand of textiles that are designed and made in the UK.

“That research will stimulate growth in the fashion and textiles sectors. The work will support small to medium sized companies through innovation in materials and product manufacturing, supply chain design, and consumer experiences.”

The Government has awarded £5.4 million for the Textiles Circularity Centre.

The group of universities supporting the Textiles Circularity Centre are the Royal College of Art, lead institution, with the University of Leeds, University of York, University of Manchester, Cranfield University, University of Cambridge, and University College London.

Three other centres were announced by Government to promote the circular economy across the chemicals and metals sectors. Total funding for the five projects was £22.5 million.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our news site - please take a moment to read this important message:

As you know, our aim is to bring you, the reader, an editorially led news site and magazine but journalism costs money and we rely on advertising, print and digital revenues to help to support them.

With the Covid-19 pandemichaving a major impact on our industry as a whole, the advertising revenues we normally receive, which helps us cover the cost of our journalists and this website, have been drastically affected.

As such we need your help. If you can support our news sites/magazines with either a small donation of even £1, or a subscription to our magazine, which costs just £31.50 per year, (inc p&P and mailed direct to your door) your generosity will help us weather the storm and continue in our quest to deliver quality journalism.

As a subscriber, you will have unlimited access to our web site and magazine. You'll also be offered VIP invitations to our events, preferential rates to all our awards and get access to exclusive newsletters and content.

Just click here to subscribe and in the meantime may I wish you the very best.




Latest news

Energy business CEO joins IoD team

The Institute of Directors has appointed Paul Stanley, CEO of Harrogate based energy business CNG, as a new Ambassador to its North Yorkshire committee. Paul...

Pension pool invests £40m in Sleaford Renewable Energy Plant

Leeds-based Border to Coast Pensions Partnership (Border to Coast), one of the largest UK pension pools, has invested £40m in Sleaford Renewable Energy Plant,...

Sills & Betteridge enters list of leading lawyers for second time

Sills & Betteridge has again been recognised as a leading law firm as it enters for the second time, The Lawyer UK 200. This list...

Former health-tech director appointed at AWRC

Sheffield Hallam University’s Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre (AWRC) has appointed a former director of health tech specialist, Medilink, as its new Deputy Director. Jason Brannan...

First phase of Treadmills regeneration opens to public

The first phase of the £17 million Treadmills regeneration project has opened to the public in Northallerton. Supermarket group Lidl, the retail anchor for the...

Airedale Chemical invests £20k in solar energy

Industrial chemical specialist, Airedale Chemical, has invested £200,000 to install solar panels as part of its continued commitment to reducing the its carbon footprint. The...

Related news

Pension pool invests £40m in Sleaford Renewable Energy Plant

Leeds-based Border to Coast Pensions Partnership (Border to Coast), one of the largest UK pension pools, has invested £40m in Sleaford Renewable Energy Plant,...

Sills & Betteridge enters list of leading lawyers for second time

Sills & Betteridge has again been recognised as a leading law firm as it enters for the second time, The Lawyer UK 200. This list...

Former health-tech director appointed at AWRC

Sheffield Hallam University’s Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre (AWRC) has appointed a former director of health tech specialist, Medilink, as its new Deputy Director. Jason Brannan...

First phase of Treadmills regeneration opens to public

The first phase of the £17 million Treadmills regeneration project has opened to the public in Northallerton. Supermarket group Lidl, the retail anchor for the...

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close