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Student Showcase Archive

Karlijn Sibbel

MA work

MA work

  • Mining waste of elements in one smartphone -  selection of 4 elements that are in one smartphone

    Mining waste of elements in one smartphone - selection of 4 elements that are in one smartphone, Karlijn Sibbel (Based on research of Dr Arjan Dijkstra and Dr Colin Wilkins, geologists from the University of Plymouth's School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences) 2019

  • Tailings Compositions - material samples

    Tailings Compositions - material samples, Karlijn Sibbel 2019

  • Mining Waste (Tailings) samples

    Mining Waste (Tailings) samples, Karlijn Sibbel 2019

  • From Fool's Gold to Renewable Energy (pyrite transformation)

    From Fool's Gold to Renewable Energy (pyrite transformation), Karlijn Sibbel 2019
    Pyrite (Fool's Gold)

  • Sieving Pyrite (particle size selection)

    Sieving Pyrite (particle size selection), Karlijn Sibbel 2019
    Pyrite (Fool's Gold)

  • Ball Milling Pyrite Bearing waste

    Ball Milling Pyrite Bearing waste, Karlijn Sibbel (Dr. Chandramohan George, Dr. Xinhua Liu) 2019
    Tailings sample from Portugal

  • Bacteria for Biocementation

    Bacteria for Biocementation, Karlijn Sibbel (Dr. Kirsten E. Jensen, Mr. Ciaran Mckeown) 2019
    Bacteria on Agar

  • Bio-cementation set up

    Bio-cementation set up, Karlijn Sibbel 2019

  • Material Samples

    Material Samples, Karlijn Sibbel 2019
    Bio-bonded waste

  • Tailings as Growth Substrate - for mine recovery

    Tailings as Growth Substrate - for mine recovery, Karlijn Sibbel 2019


Transforming waste from earth mining (tailings) into materials and products that stimulate environmental sustainability.

Tailings are streams of fine particle waste that are generated during the extraction process of rare elements from the earth. To extract 0.036 grams of gold for instance – the amount used in one smartphone – we create about seven kilos of this waste, that is > 10 million tonnes of mine waste for the gold in all smartphones produced in one year. These large-scale waste streams cause significant environmental threats and ecological disruptions, such as acidic mine drainage, soil pollution and dam failure, when they are not monitored properly. 

This project explores two formulas to transform this waste into materials for re-use. The first sees the possibility of using pyrite (fool’s gold) from tailings – the main source of acid drainage – as an abundant semiconducting material for renewable energy technologies, such as solar cells. The second is a formula to contain fine particle waste into a compact material through low-energy solidification processes.

By connecting specialists from many different fields, this project aims to create opportunities that stimulate social and environmental sustainability around earth mining.



  • MA Degree


    School of Design


    MA Innovation Design Engineering, 2019

  • As a multidisciplinary designer, the work I do sits primarily at the intersection of the fields of material science, biology, engineering and design. Inspired by natural processes and material complexities, I am interested in exploring how emergent technologies and research can be transformed into our everyday lives. 

    Specifically, to create transformative materials and applications that stimulate sustainability and circularity. Close interdisciplinary collaboration with experts from different fields is therefore crucial to my practice. Through my work I seek to bridge the gap between research, industry and users – bringing cutting edge research out of the lab into daily life in exciting ways.  

  • Degrees

  • BDes, Product Design, ArtEZ University of the Arts, Arnhem, Netherlands, 2015
  • Experience

  • Freelance designer in residence, Atelier LUMA, Arles, 2017–now; Multidisciplinary designer and founder, Studio Karlijn Sibbel, Bennekom, 2015–now; Visiting tutor, Mycelium Workshop with Eric Klarenbeek, Design Academy Eindhoven, Eindhoven, 2017; Visiting tutor, Minor Sustainability, Willem de Kooning Academy, Rotterdam, 2017; Designer in residence, Sugar Union and CBK Groningen, Groningen, 2016; Intern, Studio Marjan van Aubel, London, 2014
  • Exhibitions

  • Royal Commision 1851, Alan Baxter, London, 2019; Work in Progress show, Royal College of Art, London, 2019; Work in Progress show, RCA, London, 2018; Salt Project, Atelier LUMA, Arles, 2017; Made in Grunn Dutch Design Week, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, 2016
  • Awards

  • Finalist, Mayor's Entrepreneur, 2019; Design Stipend Award, 2015; Arnhemse Nieuwe, 2015; Nomination, Young Masters Award, 2015
  • Publications

  • Joseph Flaig, The manmade world is static. Re:flex wants to make it flexible, Professional Engineering magazine, Issue 3, 2019; Purva Chawla, 'Growing' designed objects–Karlijn Sibbel's innovative model of working with natural resources, Material Driven, 2017; DutchCulture USA, Interview with Creative Researcher and Designer Karlijn Sibbel, Dutch Culture USA, 2016; Annemieke Danneberg & Jante Wortel & Nick Felix, Work It Make It Let Me Guide You After ArtEZ, 2018