Water filter from wood traps bacteria

A bacteria-trapping material developed from wood by researchers at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm is now being tested for use as a water purification filter. The aim is to use it in places where there is no infrastructure or clean water supply.

Bioproduct mill starts up


he Metsä Group’s next- generation bioproduct mill in Äänekoski, Finland, came into operation at 6 o’clock in the morning on 15 Au- gust and pulp deliveries to custom- ers from the new mill will begin in September. The construction project was carried out as planned, in accordance with its schedule and its EUR 1.2 billion budget. Before the bioproduct mill started up, the old pulp mill in Äänekoski was shut down and its dismantling is currently in progress. The new mill will achieve its nominal capacity approximately a year after start-up and will produce 1.3 million tonnes of pulp per year, along with other bioproducts such

as tall oil and turpentine. New bioproducts that already comple- ment the product concept include product gas from bark, sulphuric acid from the mill’s odorous gases and biogas and biofuel pellets from sludge.

With this new bioproduct mill Äänekoski’s industrial ecosystem is developing and growing, and the mill will be a platform for production of new bioproducts. Several processes and product paths are being actively studied. The most important new bio- product development projects are lignin products, textile fibres and biocomposites.

More information from

The material, which combines wood cellulose with a positively- charged polymer, can trap bacteria by attracting and binding the bacteria to the material surface. It shows promise for bandages, plasters and packaging that kill bacteria without releasing toxins into the environment. Led by Professor Monica Ek, the researchers at KTH are investigating whether the material can enable portable on-site water treatment where no facilities or wells exist to meet demand.

“Our aim is that we can provide the filter for a portable system that doesn’t need electricity – just gravity – to run raw water through it,” said Anna Ottenhall, a PhD student at KTH’s School of Chemical Science and Engineering. “The great idea is that we are trapping the bacteria and removing them from the water by our positively-charged

Researcher Anna Ottenhall compares samples after running dirty water through the wood-based antibacterial filter (picture courtesy of David Callahan).

filter. The bacteria trapping material does not leach any toxic chemicals into the water, as many other on-site purification methods do.”

Her co-supervisor, Josefin Illergård, has been working with antibacterial fibres from wood cellulose for about a decade. She explained, “We had this fantastic material that is antibacterial and can be used in different ways, and we wanted to see how to use it in a way that truly makes a difference – a way that addresses a big problem in the world. One of the advantages of surfaces covered with polymers is that bacteria will not develop any resistance”.

After use, it can be burned. More information from

How to procure bio-based products

Bio-based products can make the economy more sustainable and lower its dependence on fossil fuels. For this reason, the EU has declared the bio-based products sector to be a priority area with high potential for future growth, reindustrialisation and addressing societal challenges. An assessment done by the European Commis- sion has indicated that bio-based products and biofuels represent approximately EUR 57 billion in an- nual revenue and involve 300,000 jobs. According to forecasts, the bio-based share of all chemical sales will rise to 22% by 2020,

with a compounded annual growth rate of close to 20%. Bio-based products are wholly or partly derived from materials of biological origin, excluding materials embedded in geological formations and/or fossilised. In industrial processes, enzymes are used in the production of chemical building blocks, detergents, pulp and paper, textiles, etc. By using fermentation and bio-catalysis instead of traditional chemical synthesis, higher process efficiency can be obtained, resulting in a decrease in energy and water con- sumption, and a reduction of toxic

waste. As they are derived from renewable raw materials such as trees, bio-based products can help reduce CO2 and offer other ad- vantages such as lower toxicity or novel product characteristics (e.g. biodegradable plastic materials). At the European level, poli- cies linked to bio-based products include the European Innovation Partnerships (EIPs), which were launched under the Commis- sion’s Innovation Union flagship programme to accelerate the market take-up of innovations that address key challenges for Europe. Specifically, these are: the EIP

for Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability (EIP-AGRI), which aims to promote competitive and sustainable agriculture and forestry that ‘achieves more from less’ – it contributes to ensuring a steady supply of food, feed and biomateri- als; and the EIP on Raw Materials, which aims to achieve the transition to a circular economy by providing valuable lessons on how to boost recycling and the re-use of materials. There is also a website for those interested in procuring bio-based products.

More information from

Autumn 2017 11 11

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20