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Finnish consortium studies biochar from sewage sludge

Gasum Oy, Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority (HSY) and Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) are collaborating in studies into biochar produced through the pyrolysis of sewage sludge along with the properties of this sludge derived biochar. The Sludge Derived Biochar Project aims to promote the safe and efficient utilization of nutrients and carbon contained in sewage sludge.

A by-product from wastewater treatment plants (WWTP), sewage sludge is both a resource and residue. Much research is going into better nutrient recovery, heavy metal contaminant removal, pathogen, microplastics and pharma residue destruction. Carbonisation of sewage sludge via pyrolysis is one pathway being explored in an EU LIFE project in Sweden.

Funded by the Finnish Ministry of the Environment, gas major Gasum is taking part in the Sludge Derived Biochar Project to study sludge derived biochar produced by pyrolysis and properties of this char. The research also covers the impacts of the pyrolysis process on harmful organic substances, heavy metals and microplastics found in sewage sludge.

The project is conducted in collaboration with Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority (HSY) and Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke).

Research and innovations play a major role at Gasum and we are continuously investing in them. One of our important research themes is improved nutrient cycling. The purpose of the Sludge Derived Biochar Project is to promote the safe and efficient utilization of nutrients and carbon contained in sewage sludge. It’s great to be involved in a project exploring the multiple uses of sewage sludge said Inkeri Kauppi, Development Engineer, Gasum.

Pyrolysis equipment at Gasum’s Topinoja biogas plant in Turku is used in the project to produce material and new data on pyrolysis for subsequent analyses. The analyses will provide valuable information on issues including the quality and safety of products created in pyrolysis.

The Sludge Derived Biochar Project was launched in autumn 2018 and will take two years.

Research to build a carbon-neutral future

In addition to the Turku sludge-biochar project, Gasum supports numerous other projects and enterprise collaborations. For example, Gasum is involved in several projects under Finland’s Programme to promote the recycling of nutrients and improve the status of the Archipelago Sea (Raki2) and in the work of CLIC Innovation Ltd.

CLIC Innovation aims to find new solutions and new business in bioeconomy, circular economy and energy systems through collaboration between enterprises and research institutions.

Gasum also provides grants to researchers every year. The Gasum Gas Fund is one of the special funds of the Finnish Foundation for Technology Promotion (TES) and aims to develop gas-based energy solutions and produce data supporting development in the gas sector.

Our aim is to build a carbon-neutral future and a sustainable gas ecosystem. Research-based data is very important when considering the energy solutions of the future. It’s an honour for us to support the various research projects, ended Inkeri Kauppi.

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