The LIFE RE-Fertilize Project, a partnership between several leading companies in Northern Europe and co-financed by the EU’s LIFE Programme, celebrated the grand opening of its pilot plant for an innovative new process that removes and recovers nitrogen from wastewater on Wednesday, 8 December.
The official ribbon cutting ceremony featured speeches by Mattias Frumerie from the Swedish Ministry of Environment and partnering companies in the project; EasyMining, BIOFOS, Lantmännen, and the environmental company Ragn-Sells.
“In order for the countries of the world to be able to live up to our commitments in the Paris Agreement, we must reduce our climate emissions by at least 45% by 2030. Solutions like this mean that Sweden in our global work with credibility can show that change is possible”, says Mattias Frumerie, head negotiator for the Swedish Ministry of Environment at the United Nations Climate Conference (COP).
From left: Jan Svärd (EasyMining), Lars Lindén (Ragn-Sells), Mattias Frumerie (Swedish Ministry of Environment), Erik Sellberg (Ragn-Sells), Anna Lundbom (EasyMining), Emelie Ekholm (Lantmännen) and Mikael Hedström (Ragn-Sells).
Based at Ragn-Sells Högbytorp’s treatment and recycling facility in Upplands-Bro outside of Stockholm, the pilot plant features two custom fabricated mobile units and has a capacity to process four cubic meters of water per hour. It's the first industrial-scale effort of a patented method developed by EasyMining that recovers resources from wastewater with high concentrations of ammonium nitrogen.
"Cooperation across the value chain is key to circular transformation, therefore we are pleased that this project lead by EasyMining now have a demonstration plant up and running for an innovative and sustainable wastewater treatment solution here at Högbytorp," says Mikael Hedström, CEO of Ragn-Sells Treatment & Detox.
According to Anna Lundbom, head of marketing at EasyMining and project manager for the LIFE RE-Fertilize project, the currently used biological-based processes just release the nitrogen into the atmosphere after removing it, while the process applied by the nitrogen pilot plant captures it for use in for example fertilisers.
”We want to keep the nitrogen and use it over and over again. What we do is to capture the ammonium nitrogen and then convert it to a form that can be used in the fertiliser industry”, she explains. “Thus sending it back to agriculture, closing that loop and saving energy and resources.”
What’s more, the process the pilot plant utilises would replace methods that produce emission of nitrous oxide (also known as “laughing gas”) and thus significantly lower a water treatment facility’s climate footprint.
"If we are serious about creating a sustainable society, we have to use more of the raw materials we have already extracted. Wastewater is a goldmine, and this project is a great example of an innovative new process that removes and recovers nitrogen from wastewater," says Lundbom.
Launched in 2019, the LIFE RE-Fertilize Project is co-financed by the EU’s LIFE programme, the main funding organisation for environmental and climate action in the European Union.
Along with EasyMining and Ragn-Sells, other companies in the partnership are the Swedish agricultural cooperative Lantmännen and the Danish wastewater utility company BIOFOS. Lantmännen is evaluating the end product of the process, ammonium sulphate, for its potential use in creating a more climate-friendly fertiliser; while BIOFOS is adapting the pilot plant to run on reject water from the dewatering of sewage sludge as its Lynetten facility, the largest wastewater treatment facility in Denmark.
The demonstration and assessment period for the pilot plant is set to run till the summer of 2022. It will be running on landfill leachate water at Högbytorp outside Stockholm until March 2022. In April 2022, the demonstration plant will be moved to the BIOFOS´s Lynetten facility in Denmark.
For more information, please contact:
Anna Lundbom, Head of Marketing at EasyMining, +46(0)70 927 28 29, email@example.com
Christian Kabbe, Managing Director at EasyMining Germany, +49(0)176 61 53 79 26, firstname.lastname@example.org
Emma Ranerfors, Press Officer, +46(0)10 723 24 16, email@example.com
FACTS: The process behind the LIFE RE-Fertilize project
The nitrogen removal and recovery process used by the LIFE RE-Fertilize Project and developed by EasyMining makes it possible to reuse nitrogen, a vital component in fertilisers, saving energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The process is energy-efficient and has no nitrous oxide emissions like current processes for removing nitrogen from wastewater. It can also easily integrate into already existing infrastructure.
FACTS: The European Union’s LIFE programme
The LIFE Programme is the EU’s funding instrument for the environment and climate action. It was created in 1992 and currently funds projects covering four key areas: nature and biodiversity, circular economy and quality of life, climate change mitigation and adaptation, clean energy transition.
EasyMining is an innovation company dedicated to closing nutrient cycles. We are owned by the Swedish environmental company Ragn-Sells. We are passionate about inventing new technology that uses intelligent chemical solutions to close nutrient cycles. Our objective is to create new circular material flows in an efficient commercial way.