20.12.2017

Renewable natural resources and chemistry of living environment

The area of strength comprises the essential portion of applied research in progress in the Department of Chemistry. Societally important areas like forest, pulp and paper, and mining industries combined with versatile aspects on biorefining, environmental chemistry, recycling, and renewable energy are in the core of actions.

Renewable biomass resources can be utilized in a number of green technological ways to produce chemicals and fuels. In addition to research for developing further the processes applied in the conventional pulp and paper industry together with chemical industry, novel process concepts related to biorefining are being developed. In all these cases, a better understanding of process chemistry as well as detailed knowledge on the properties of feedstocks and products are of great significance.

Metal Analysis and Recovery Research Group focuses on accurate determination of elements in various sample matrices using state-of-the-art analytical instruments and on the recovery of critical raw materials, listed by the European Union, from waste materials. Almost all of the research group`s activity is related to circular economy resulting in the development of process technology to utilize alternative raw material resources. Currently the most interesting raw material sources are power plant fly ash, sludge and waste electrical and electronic equipments (WEEE). WEEE is graded in order to find more valuable parts such as PCBs and hard drives magnets. The recovery process of the critical metals is based on hydrometallurgy coupled with electro winning and modern metal scavenger technology. The WEEE process technology developed produces Au, Ag, Pd, Cu and Pt at very high purity and recovery rates. The rare earth metals (REMs) are recovered as oxides with very high recovery rates. A major advantage of our process technique is its modularity, enabling a quick response to the handling of different waste material and metal contents.

Academic staff

Senior researchers