Find out about the projects related to the SCI-MAT platform's research topics
In the search for sustainable mobility and energy system transition solutions, batteries emerge as a fundamental technology for the advancement of electric cars, renewable energy storage, and the reduction of carbon emissions.
REINFORCE aims at creating a circular value chain for batteries, which promises to transform the life cycle of these products from their first use in electric vehicles and renewable energy systems to their eventual recycling or repurposing in second and third life applications. Used, defective and unstable batteries pose new challenges along the supply chain and require new industrial processes, automated equipment, and tracking systems.
Comprising a consortium of 14 specialized partners, including LUT University, REINFORCE unites diverse expertise to tackle the complexities of battery management. At the SCI-MAT research platform partaking in the project, our research efforts span from crafting innovative business models to conducting comprehensive sustainability assessments. This multifaceted approach enables us to look beyond the singular aspects of battery usage, considering the full value chain within the principles of a circular economy.
The project is co-funded in 2023–2027 by the European Union through Horizon Europe, the European Union’s framework program for research and innovation and will run from June 2023 until May 2027.
Stormwater contains harmful pollutants but StoPWa project is developing a new filtration system out of construction and demolition waste.
The quality of the Baltic Sea has fundamental economic, environmental and recreational importance for each country in the Baltic Sea Region. Anyhow, contaminated stormwater, generated both in coastal areas of the Baltic Sea and the leaching from inland waters, poses a risk to the condition of the Baltic Sea. At the same time, old buildings are demolished in the cities of the region, creating huge amounts of construction and demolition waste (CDW), which is difficult to recycle and often ends up in landfills. However, CDW may be used as stormwater filtering material, at a very low cost. The StoPWa project develops and tests multilayer stormwater filtration systems using CDW, in cross-border cooperation. The filters will be tested both in laboratory environments and in field tests where full-scale stormwater filters will be constructed in Lahti (Finland), in Harju County (Estonia) and in Smiltene (Latvia).
Statistics Finland states that Finland produces a staggering 1.6 million tons of construction and demolition waste a year. Brick and concrete waste and mineral wool insulation are difficult to recycle, but LUT is using them to create filtration compounds for stormwater treatment. The first step is to test the materials in soil laboratories in Lahti, Finland. Then, the tests will continue in dammed ponds in Lahti, Estonia, and Latvia.
Water treatment and the recycling of materials may create new business opportunities for local enterprises and help cities and municipalities to build environmentally friendly solutions for the treatment of stormwater.
The project are looking solution for using construction and demolition waste in stormwater filters
Reduction of nonpoint emissions of stormwaters and the Baltic Sea pollution burden
Improved recycling of construction and demolition waste
Action4Commons started in 2022. The aim of the research project is to theorize on collective stakeholder action to understand how the business sector participates with societal and public sector stakeholders to the governance of commons. Commons are natural resources used by various actors, and affected by human overuse and self-interest. Empirically, the project examines one of the most urgent struggles of commons, biodiversity loss, and focuses on the mining sector.
Action4Commons is funded by Academy of Finland. The consortium includes researchers from LUT University and Tampere University.
RELiEF started in July 2022. It aims to reduce lithium waste by more than 70% by utilizing previously unused secondary lithium sources and plays a crucial role in avoiding future supply chain disruptions and in closing the loop for a circular economy.
RELiEF is funded by the European Union’s Horizon Europe Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. The consortium brings together 13 partners from seven European countries. RELiEF is coordinated by Avesta Battery & Energy Engineering and includes small and medium-sized enterprises, non-profit Research and Technology Organisations, universities and an associated industrial partner.
ULB - Université libre de Bruxelles, LUT, Nova - NOVA University Lisbon, NOVA School of Science and Technology
ABEE - Avesta Battery & Energy Engineering, TC - TechConcepts B.V., EURICE - European Research and Project Office GmbH, Extracthive, Pegmatitica - Sociedade Mineira De Pegmatites, Lda.
ZSW - Zentrum für Sonnenenergie- und Wasserstoff-Forschung Baden-Württemberg, INEGI - Instituto de Ciência e Inovação em Engenharia Mecânica e Engenharia Industrial, IMNR
RELiEF will establish a process to produce battery materials from secondary and low-grade lithium sources that have not been previously recycled. These sources may be solid materials such as waste slag from the lithium metal production or liquid such as wastewater generated during battery recycling, containing lithium. A lithium recycling process will be integrated into a pilot plant in Belgium to establish the process in practice.
LUT is participating in the selective lithium recovery from alternative waste streams, lithium purification, environmental and social life-cycle analyses to map the impacts of the process, a socio-economic analysis to chart potential obstacles, as well as the development of a sustainable business model to enable the commercialization of the process.
The project begun in the summer 2022. It´s objective is to fixate CO2 into magnesium silicates, reducing CO2 emissions and turning mining wastes into valuable products, and in doing so, combining CO2 mitigation aims with the circular economy and creating green products.
PILCCU is funded by Business Finland and coordinated by Åbo Akademi. The project has eight industrial partners and four research partners, including three universities and a research institute.
Åbo Akademi (ÅA), Oulu University (OU) including Oulu Mining School (OMS), Lappeenranta – Lahti University of Technology (LUT)
The project aims to fixate large amounts (>> 0.1 Mt/year, preferably > 1 Mt/yr) of CO2 from industrial sources using magnesium silicate-based mining waste rock and rock tailings, mainly serpentinites. The process would produce valuable magnesium carbonate (MC) or magnesium carbonate hydrate (MCH), while reducing the amount of mining waste and CO2 emissions. The process would lower costs through the reduced number of mining waste and CO2 emission permits (current ETS cost 55 €/ton).
LUTs role in the project is to analyze relevant institutions and policy to avoid any obstacles in the deployment of the technology and to assess the level of social acceptance in order to facilitate the commercialization of the process.
TOCANEM started in September 2020. TOCANEM aims to establish global leadership in process innovations related to carbon neutral metals production and to provide new research-driven knowhow for the utilization of electricity and hydrogen in metals production. TOCANEM is organized to three sub-areas, all contributing to different aspects of achieving carbon neutral metals manufacturing: Carbon direct avoidance, Smart carbon usage, and Circular economy.
TOCANEM is funded by Business Finland and coordinated by University of Oulu. The project partners are: Boliden Harjavalta Oy, Boliden Kokkola Oy, Fortum Waste Solutions Oy, Freeport Cobalt Oy, Kivisampo Oy, Outokumpu Stainless Oy, Outotec (Finland) Oy, Owatec Group Oy, Sapotech Oy, Aalto University, LUT University, University of Oulu, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Åbo Akademi University, Metsä Group Oy, Ovako Imatra Oy, SSAB Europe Oy
Established in 2019, the BATCircle consortium aims at enhancing the competitiveness of the Finnish battery value chain through improving the manufacturing processes of mining industry, metals industry and battery chemicals, and increasing the recycling of lithium-ion batteries. BATCircle's goal is to strengthen cooperation between companies and research organizations in Finland and to identify new business opportunities in the process.
Led by Aalto University, the BATCircle consortium consists of key Finnish research and industrial actors involved in the battery metals sector. The cooperation effort is expected to lead to the formation of a domestic battery metals ecosystem following the principles of circular economy. The ecosystem comprises four universities, two research centres and 15 companies:
Aalto University, LUT University, University of Eastern Finland, University of Oulu
Geological Survey of Finland (GTK), VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
Boliden Harjavalta Oy, Finnish Minerals Group Oy, Fortum Waste Solutions Oy, Metso Outotec Oyj, Norilsk Nickel Harjavalta Oy, Terrafame Oy, Umicore Finland Oy, AkkuSer Oy, BroadBit Batteries Oy, Oy Fennoscandian Resources Ab, FinnCobalt Oy, Keliber Technology Oy, Latitude 66 Cobalt Oy, Mawson Oy, X-Ray Minerals Services Finland Oy
Battery recycling: Recovery of valuable metals
The use of and demand for lithium-ion batteries is increasing drastically, as the number of electric vehicles, electronic devices and demand for energy storage continues to grow. Battery recycling is an important function to ensure the circularity of battery metals. Lithium-ion batteries require not only lithium, but also other key metals such as cobalt, nickel, manganese, copper, aluminium, as well as graphite and other anode materials. The BATCircle consortium is focused on developing efficient metallurgical recycling processes for lithium-ion batteries to ensure efficient recovery of all elements and to reduce the environmental impacts of the recycling process. LUT University's research team for industrial hydrometallurgy in this project focuses on:
Direct Li recovery from Li-ion battery waste leachate by solvent extraction.
Ion exchange removal of impurities from Li-ion battery waste leachate.
Diluent degradation chemistry in battery metals solvent extraction.
Separation of battery metal mixture from Li-ion battery waste leachate by solvent extraction for direct cathode precursor precipitation.
During the first years of its existence, the BATCircle consortium has produced many promising results aimed at improving the efficiency of the refining processes and recycling of lithium-ion battery raw materials. The industrial hydrometallurgy team at LUT University has applied novel methods during the project, for instance, using ion exchange for the first time in separation of metals from lithium-ion batteries waste.
The background for the UIR project taking place between November 2017 and December 2020, was to look for possibilities to significantly reduce CO2 emissions in urban construction development. Present urban infrastructure consists mainly of steel reinforced concrete -based solutions. Both of these materials contain high energy, virgin raw materials and their use results in intensive CO2 emissions. As the production of cement produces approximately 7% of the global CO2 emissions and recyclability of concrete is restricted, the UIR project aimed to develop novel high-value materials to replace concrete and produce recyclable and functional construction products as a feasible alternative.
The consortium was led by the Municipality of Lappeenranta and involved two higher education and research institutes, four SMEs, five private companies, and one regional development company:
LUT University, Saimaa University of Applied Sciences
Apila Group Ltd, FIMATEC Finnish Intelligent Module Apartment Oy, Design Reform Ltd, Total Design Ltd
UPM-Kymmene Oyj, Outotec Oyj, Nordkalk Corporation, Metsäliitto Cooperative, Stora Enso International Oy
Imatra Region Development Company Ltd
The role of LUT University was to lead the material and manufacturing technology development as well as to design and analyze new business models, while supporting sustainability analyses.
Treatment and valorization of industrial side streams to create geopolymer composite material to replace concrete
The innovative results of the UIR project are a newly created material and a technology for producing it, developed for circular economy. Utilizing local industrial side streams, the new geopolymer composite material was developed and further applied in prototype products such as a skate park infrastructure and in noise barriers used by the city of Lappeenranta. CO2 emissions are reduced by avoiding the use of cement, preferring local material sources, and utilizing industrial waste and by-products. Additionally, the noise barriers were made using a 3D printing technology.
The most important results of the UIR project as summarized are:
Design of closed-loop geopolymer composite material with the potential to replace concrete as a construction material. The new material includes 99,6 % of circulated materials and is 100 % recyclable and printable.
The life cycle assessment (LCA) showed that the environmental impact of geopolymer composites is highly dependent on the recipe.
The identification of commercial opportunities related to tailings. This waste material has the potential to replace natural sand as fine aggregate used in construction-grade geopolymer materials.
Improvement of new materials for arctic conditions of the north taking into consideration physical and chemical standards.
Design and performance of revolutionary, aesthetic, and safe multifunctional structures for urban architecture.
Creation of an advanced business model for closed-loop circular economy. It is predicted that it would generate 50-200 new jobs directly or indirectly to local industrial organizations during the next 5-8 years.
Design ways for upscaling technology. According to the estimation, about 25% of the delivery amount of noise barriers of Finnish railway transportation is possible to build with 3-4 printers.
CiRCLETECH project will be raising scientific excellence of the cooperating partners, University of Miskolc, Technische Universiteit Delft and Lappeenranta–Lahti University of Technology in the field of sustainable circular economy research, with the aim of forming a long-lasting Research Hub, across Northern Hungary.