We support projects that delivers science excellence & impact on our communities.
The application of urea supports our agricultural economy and also creates challenges. When urea is applied to soil, more than 75% of their nutrients get washed away even before the plant can absorb them. Farmers mitigate this by applying larger volumes of urea, costing them more and the excess nitrogen run-offs causes environmental issues downstream. Unfortunately Urea quickly breaks down into ammonia, which leads to harmful algal blooms in waterways and can enter the atmosphere as nitrous oxide, which is a greenhouse gas. A more sustainable control release fertiliser will mitigate these issues.
GroLush is a proposed hybrid synthetic-organic fertiliser, aimed to be manufactured in New Zealand by selecting technological routes with the lowest carbon emissions and environmental impact. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology will be used to estimate energy use and greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from either manufacturing or importing urea, a principal component of GroLush. Urea will then be combined with NZ minerals to augment the fertiliser to control the availability of nitrogen to the plant.
Project Greyfoam is the development of carbon foam from the Grey District and other regional coal fines.
What are Carbon foams? Carbon foams are porous carbon materials with a three-dimensional (3D) interconnected network architecture, which makes them lightweight, heat resistant and their thermal or electrical properties can be tweaked. A wide range of feedstock can be used to make these foams, including graphene sheets, biomass, super-toasted bread and coal. Carbon foam, as a material, has been widely used as electrodes in electrochemical cells, catalyst supports, heat insulators, high thermal-conductivity heat sinks, energy absorption materials, electromagnetic shielding and oil removal.
Legacy data and previous research in the field points to the strong possibility that there are numerous fine (100 µm) and ultra-fine (20 µm) gold deposits around the West Coast region. The research was conducted by independent groups, yet these groups have not readily shared their findings amongst their peers, the scientific community nor the wider community, as there are no publications to verify nor validate these earlier findings.
By using a combination of optimised standard protocols to recover fine and ultra-fine gold, miners could have increased their yields in order to maximise their returns from this missed opportunity over the years, if they had access to prior knowledge. This is partly due to lack of research and development in the West Coast and also a lack of mining community engagement with academic researchers.
NZIMMR is conducting an investigative research to validate this hypothesis, document the recovery methods and make it available to the public.