South Africa experiences global environmental issues together with unique local challenges. Increasingly serious concerns arise around water, and the Centre’s environmental focus is in this area.
One suite of projects considers acid rock drainage (ARD) prevention. ARD is considered using biological technologies for dealing with sulphur compounds and cyanide. Enhanced management of waste materials, including recovery of value-added products, is emphasised. There is also an involvement in methodology for analysis of risk, including laboratory and sociological tools.
CeBER has another set of complementary projects dealing with issues in the wastewater arena, in particular within the wastewater biorefinery (WWBR) concept. Here the orientation is towards wastewater as feedstock and compliant water as one of a number of valuable products. Thus remediation is coupled with value recovery, combining tratitionally separate fields. Research covers a wide range of industrial wastewaters and includes domestic wastewater.
Across the various projects there is a focus on integrated systems, microbial ecology and emerging technologies. Sustainability and life cycle analyses are integral to the environmental studies in the Centre.