Innovative manufacturing methods for circular economy-based water purification materials – manufacturing, testing and commercialization



Project information

Project duration


Project funder

European Structural Funds - Just Transition Fund (JTF)
The Innovation and Skills in Finland 2021–2017, EU regional and structural policy program

Funding amount

526 411 EUR

Project coordinator

University of Oulu

Contact information

Project leader

Project description


Research Unit of Sustainable Chemistry (Faculty of Technology, OY)
Biomimetics and Intelligent Systems (Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, OY)
Industrial Engineering and management (Faculty of Technology, OY)

The main goal of the project is to develop mechanically and chemically stable, selective, cost-effective and renewable materials for water treatment from industrial side streams. Circular economy-based materials are used in water purification as an adsorbent, catalyst or precipitation chemical to remove impurities. In addition, water purification processes are optimized using hybrid methods, i.e. by combining different water purification technologies. Used materials are circular economy-based and/or local, easily available raw materials, e.g. slag from the steel industry, analcime from the mining industry or calcined kaolin. The material is manufactured using two new manufacturing methods: 1) a column-casted method and 2) spray technology by laminating thin porous paste layers on the desired surface, which are hardened with the help of infrared heat into a solid material. The purpose here is to utilize the automated manufacturing of the material by means of robotics. This enables efficient utilization of the raw materials and the discovery of new manufacturing methods. New manufacturing methods enable the production of material in the desired shape. The advantages of new manufacturing methods compared to currently available processes are low price, low operating costs and low environmental impact. The most significant advantages of column casting are price and efficiency. With automated spray technology, it is possible to produce material layers (laminate) of uniform quality and different thicknesses on the desired surface. The technology enables a fast material manufacturing process, where the properties of the material can be tailored and refined according to the application. In accordance with the circular economy, a zero-waste-type overall solution is also being investigated, i.e. the utilization of the regeneration solutions formed during the regeneration of adsorbents. In addition, the utilization of the used adsorbent as recycled fertilizer is investigated. The functionality of the most promising methods and materials is verified by pilot-scale tests. As an important part of the project, the commercialization of materials and methods is investigated. The aim of the information produced by the project is to regionally develop water purification materials and their commercial availability.