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

Interreg Aurora

Period: 15.8.2023 - 31.8.2026

Content: The project focus is to transform biomasses that today are considered waste and are
mostly used as fuel in heat and power plants, into added-value products such as
activated carbon. The project goal is to use organic by-products (primary waste) from
the agro, forest, livestock, aquatic biomass (e.g., algae), and digestate from biogas
industries (secondary waste) to produce biochar through pyrolysis and further made into activated carbon (primary product).
The activated carbon will be 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).
Additionally, the impact of the biochar and activated carbon produced on methane yield in anaerobic digestion will be investigated in a laboratory set-up.
(3). Used as an additive in the anaerobic digestion

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 the valorization of 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 consist of 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.

Focus area: Hållbar energiteknik

Campus: Vasa Wolffskavägen 33

Financers: Interreg Aurora

Project manager: Cynthia Söderbacka

Partners: Lapplands förbund, Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet, Biofuel Region AB, Region Norrbotten