EasyMining is awarded a grant of more than 3.5 MSEK (million Swedish Krona) from Sweden’s energy agency Energimyndigheten for its Sahara project. Working with several partners, EasyMining will further develop its technology for recovering nutrients from incinerated sewage sludge to extract more resources, like the increasingly scarce ferric chloride.
– The Sahara project was developed as an add-on to our process Ash2Phos, in which we leach sewage sludge ash to recover phosphorus, iron, and aluminium. The amount of iron recovered in this initial process was around 15%, but with Sahara, we can recover more than 98% of the iron and produce a much cleaner ferric chloride, says Hanna Landbring, EasyMining’s Lead Process Engineer and Project Manager for Sahara.
The recovered iron resource is a commodity and a vital component of water treatment in the form of a coagulant which unfortunately is in short supply due to the war in Ukraine and high energy prices.
Furthermore, the Sahara project also improve the quality of the remaining sand that is left after all other resources have been extracted. Without the Sahara add-on the Ash2Phos process generates a red-brown coloured sand. With the Sahara add-on, most of the iron is removed and the sand will be grey and better suited for cement manufacturing.
Hanna Landbring, Lead Process Engineer and Project Manager, and Cristian Tunsu, Manager of Analysis and Quality Control and R&D Lead at EasyMining.
The project was in the initial stages of development, when it was noticed that Energimyndigheten had published a grant focusing on “Circular economy and resource use within the limits of the planet”.
– We realised that we could apply for funding to study this deeper and do more extensive tests than we had originally budgeted and planned for, says Cristian Tunsu, EasyMining’s Manager of Analysis and Quality Control and R&D Lead for Sahara.
Officially announced on August 15th, Sahara will receive a total of 3,57 MSEK through the grant, divided into three annual payments.
– The grant is going to help us speed up the research and hopefully take the technology to market much faster. We plan to conclude the R&D and do more engineering but also engage in having extensive business analysis and product validation tests with the final users, Tunsu explains.
Much of that business analysis and product validation will be performed through partnerships including the chemical manufacturer Feralco and the water company Sydvatten which will validate the recovered coagulant for water treatment, Thomas Concrete for validation testing of the silicate sand, IVL, the Swedish Environmental Research Institute, for life-cycle assessment, and EasyMining’s parent company Ragn-Sells to workshop the “chemical as a service” concept, together with the Imperial College of London.
– To have partners like these contributing with substantial and relevant input, really speeds everything up. Without them, it would take much longer to get products like these out on the market, says Landbring.
Energimyndigheten is the government agency responsible for all matters of supply and use of energy in Sweden. The Agency is, in many aspects, leading Sweden's transition to a sustainable energy system. The organisation is regulated by the Government through the instruction and annual appropriations directives.
EasyMining is an innovation company dedicated to closing nutrient cycles. We are owned by the Swedish environmental company Ragn-Sells. Our objective is to create new circular material flows in an efficient commercial way. We do this by inventing and implementing new technology that uses chemical solutions to recycle important materials.