Green Energy on a Green Screen

Date Published: 14.08.2023

Watch our first green screen video production! Spotlighting pioneering Wadham DPhil research.

Maral Bayaraa's (Engineering Science, 2020) DPhil research is full of surprises. In the public imagination, mining is tied to fossil fuels. Yet Maral emphasises how mining is needed for green energy sources too. Those sources need metals, which we get from mining.

Another surprise: mining involves digging down into the earth. What would a satellite up in space have to do with that? Turns out, a lot, if we want to make sure the waste from mining is handled responsibly.

Finally, mining is an old industry, associated with manual labour. It feels worlds away from developments in AI. But again, Maral creates a link between the two. We need AI to process the data from the satellites that are monitoring the mining waste.

These surprises create a challenge for research communication. How do you reach the public with ideas that can be initially so jarring?

We in the Communications team at Wadham wanted to help out and a video seemed the best way forward. After all, Maral's powerpoint presentations were already full of visual assets. There were photos of her at mining sites, videos of satellites, and colourful data-sets. "It helps that satellite data is so beautiful", she says. Together, these assets began to tell the story not only of her research, but also her personal connection to mining as someone from Mongolia, where mining has brought huge socio-economic gains.

As ideas developed, the idea of using a green screen started to make more sense, enabling more dynamic editing. We booked the University's rapidmooc facility and eventually produced the video above! We hope you enjoy it and get a sense of the exciting research Maral is involved in.

If you'd like to get in touch with Maral, you can contact her at

If you'd like to read more about her research, there are links to her website, an interview with her, and to her research publication below.

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