KEMIA: Finnish company uses new method to capture metals from wastewaters

Kemia newspaper interviewed our Chief Technology Officer Elmeri Lahtinen. They were especially interested in Weeefiner’s new scavenger technology.

“Unlike traditional methods that concentrate on filtering solid materials, we focus on soluble components such as valuable or toxic metals”, Lahtinen explained.

Our technology enables the recovery of soluble metals or anions from a wide variety of streams. Weeefiner manufactures 3D printed filter units which remove selected impurities from flowing water. We call this technology a 4D solution since we can control not only the shape of the filter but also the chemical composition so the filter will have a suitable amount of active material for the recovery of a specific metal.

“Difficulties often occur in the filtration of specific, individual metals. In my opinion our technology is the best, if not the only, solution that can selectively recover metals from water.”

Our technology is built on research-based approach

Kemia newspaper asked about our background. The idea for a new kind of filtering technology arose from 3D printing hobby of one researcher at the University of Jyväskylä.

“Professors at the Department of Chemistry wondered whether 3D printed objects could have another function than to work as mere mechanical pieces. That is where it started,” Lahtinen revealed.

The researchers wanted to determine how different chemical properties could be added to the physical objects. It was quickly recognized that this innovation could improve the performance of traditional techniques in many fields of industry.  

The possible applications of the innovation are almost limitless

We have used our 4D solution already for example in the chemical and pulp industries, but the possible uses of the innovation are even wider.

“Basically, the technology can be used whenever water and metal meet to any greater extent”, Lahtinen explained.

Removing dissolved metals from water can help companies stay within certain emission limits or recommendations. However, even this technology has its limitations.

“There is no so-called silver bullet in water treatment, a solution that works everywhere. Our method might not work everywhere as it is. For example, when handling larger bodies of water, we often need to combine different technologies.”

Circular economy is in the heart of our operations

Kemia newspaper wanted to know which values drive Weeefiner forward.

“The circular economy is at the heart of our operations, and almost all of our projects are related to it. We always strive for the closed loop and zero discharge solutions when designing new processes.”

Our mission is to provide straightforward solutions for dissolved metal recovery and upcycling (increasing the value of discarded materials). We want to bring industrial level water treatment to a convenient size and cost range to lower the threshold for companies to implement new recovery and purification processes.

“Our main goal is to make the product as simple as possible but at the same time we want it to be flexible. The intention is to only change the active core of the process, the filter itself, depending on the use for which it is needed.”

The original article was published in the Kemia newspaper (5/2021). You can also access it on their website The article is available only in Finnish.

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