Missouri S&T earns pollution prevention grant

A team of researchers at one of the nation’s top mining engineering institutions, Missouri University of Science and Technology, have been bestowed a $350,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for work focused on preventing pollution in the mining industry.

Dr. Guang Xu, an associate professor of mining engineering, said the award will help the group to work to reduce pollution related to acid mist, while also providing assistance and suggestions to the mining industry.

Guang Xu

“We will also focus on environmental justice and promoting this concept,” he added.

One facet of the project: exploring acid mist suppressants for the copper electrowinning industry that are more environmentally friendly than the environmentally harmful “forever chemical,” the fluorochemical reagent FC-1100.

Work on the project will be conducted over the next two years. It will include the development of case studies, two workshops to be held at national conferences for mining and chemical manufacturing attendees, and a teaching module focused on environmental justice.

Xu said the work is especially crucial considering the current electric vehicle push in the U.S., as it will require significant amounts of copper for batteries, wiring, motors and charging stations.

“People would like to purchase electric vehicles to help with the environment,” Xu said. “However, this requires additional copper mining, which can then cause different environmental issues. We are looking to mitigate these issues.”

The co-principal investigator for the project is Michael Moats, chair of S&T’s materials science department. The EPA funded this grant as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

Source: Missouri S&T

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