Nature Refines - Organic residues as raw material for water-cleaning and energy storage devices

Last changed: 09 April 2024
Nature refines

The project focuses on transforming biomasses, that today are considered waste and are mostly used as fuel in heat and power plants, into added-value products such as activated biochar. The project goal is to use organic by-products (primary waste) from the agro, forest, livestock, aquatic biomass (e.g., alger), and digestate from biogas industries (secondary waste) to produce activated biochar (primary product).

The activated biochar is used as raw material for the production of:

(1) Water filter devices (secondary product-1) to remove contaminants such as pharmaceuticals and heavy metals from different types of wastewaters (e.g., communal sewage water, leachates from landfills, paper industry, mining industry, and laboratory-made effluents with well-defined composition), and

(2) Supercapacitor electrodes (secondary product-2).

The results from the project will allow for the replacement of fossil elements (such as graphite used in the construction of supercapacitor electrodes) with CO2-neutral biomass, and increase the use of renewable domestic resources instead of importing raw materials from other countries, which in turn, lead to several societal benefits and affects all the UN's global sustainability goals.

Apart from this, there is a huge potential for valorising unused organic wastes in Nordic regions. Production of local key-raw materials increases self-sufficiency. An improvement of the recycling methods used today can be achieved by enhancing the research capabilities of the target group, performing applied research, and networking with established companies that can use the results obtained during the project. The activities to utilize the results and know-how include sharing best practices, new business models for circularity, new processes for addressing northern challenges and uptake of new technologies, laboratory experiments, and dissemination of results.

This project primarily contributes to the sustainable development goals 6 (Clean water and sanitation), 9 (Industry, innovation and infrastructure), and 12 (Responsible consumption and production).


Project timetable: 2023-09-01- 2026-08-31

Funders: Interreg Aurora, Region Norrbotten, Regional Council of Ostrobotnia, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Luleå University of Technology, Yrkeshögskolan Novia, Kempestiftelserna, BioFuel Region

Project partners: Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Luleå University of Technology, Yrkeshögskolan Novia, BioFuel Region. 

Project budget total: 853 282 Euro

Project budget EU-funding, Interreg Aurora: 554 633 Euro

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