Suomen Biovoima and Weeefiner have agreed to cooperate in the fields of production and commercialization of a completely new type of critical metal recovery system. The applications of the solution cover a wide range of industries, from the mining industry to wastewater treatment, and the circular economy benefits achieved through it are very significant at best.
The implementation of the container-structured testing equipment complies with Biovoima’s core competencies and customer base
Biovoima will carry out the process and mechanical engineering of the industrial-scale Weeefiner testing equipment, as well as the ongoing manufacturing. In the future, the cooperation will be extended to the commercial side as well.
‒ I see the collaboration model as excellent, as we have strong expertise in the design and manufacture of modular, container-structured process equipment assemblies. In addition, the solution fits perfectly into our existing product portfolio as well as our customer base, where I believe it will arouse a lot of interest. At the same time, the assembly brings additional work to our production side, describes Eero Tilsala, the CEO of Suomen Biovoima.
Innovative solution for the recovery of precious metals
Weeefiner is a company born at the Department of Chemistry of the University of Jyväskylä. Since 2017, its founders have developed a revolutionary technology for recovering precious metals such as gold from process waters and wastewater. Recovery also covers many rare earth metals such as neodymium, which is important for the manufacture of wind turbines and electric motors. In addition, technology can be used to remove harmful metals for example from mining by-products, which would otherwise either not be utilized or end up polluting the nature.
The solution is based on 3D-printed filters that are selective for a specific element (mainly metals). The elements dissolved in water get bound in these filters. Elmeri Lahtinen, Weeefiner’s Chief Technology Officer, says that the world’s demand for critical metals is increasing all the time, but reserves themselves are dwindling or production is concentrated in certain countries, which may limit international availability. Therefore, their reuse is important.
‒ With our technology, for example gold, silver, platinum and palladium can be recovered from the electronic waste treatment by-streams. Electronic waste will soon be the largest growing waste stream in the world, and its potential for the circular economy is enormous, especially for rare metals, Lahtinen explains.
The industrial pilot container is being completed at a rapid pace in Jyväskylä
The industrial-scale testing equipment being built now is a container solution that is easy to transport to the customer, i.e. where the water and materials to be tested are located. The assembly is carried out in Jyväskylä, and the equipment will be completed during May 2021.
‒ The product is designed so that the test reactors can be modularly replaced according to the properties of the customer’s process water. In this way, the optimal separation efficiency can be determined before the customer’s own full-scale equipment is being designed, built, and delivered. We hope this will be the outcome of the achieved test drive results, says Toni Hiltunen, Chief Technology Officer at Biovoima, who is responsible for the design and manufacturing of the pilot equipment.
Test runs possible already in summer 2021
The goal is that the testing equipment will be travelling all over Finland and possibly even Europe for testing different fluid flows already this summer.
‒ One of the advantages of the product is that even though its core technology, 3D filters, is technically state-of-the-art, they are still reasonably inexpensive to manufacture. Thus, the payback times for industrial-scale customer-specific equipment will certainly be attractive in many projects, after the test drives are completed, describes Eero Tilsala from Biovoima.
If you are interested in the test drive, get in touch and let’s talk!
Weeefiner Oy, CTO
+358 40 559 2666
Suomen Biovoima Oy, CTO
+358 40 514 7047
More about the subject (in Finnish):
Osto & Logistiikka: “WeeeFINer-suodatin nappaa kriittiset metallit talteen”