Weeefiner’s nitrogen recovery solution is a Hackathon winner

*Picture: Jamk Biotalous/BioPaavo

The Humuspehtoori Hackathon, organized on behalf of Humuspehtoori Oy, was looking for an effective solution for nitrogen recovery and utilization. Weeefiner took the win with the customized 4D Scavenger solution for nitrogen recovery.

The goal of the HumuspehtooriHackathon was to find technologies and solutions to recover the nitrogen contained in the runoff from the composting field as efficiently as possible and use it in the production of recycled fertilizers. At the end of the innovation competition, four teams were chosen to participate, of which Weeefiner’s team was chosen as the winner.

“The hackathon exceeded all expectations, an absolutely amazing event. On the final day, we got to spar with a multidisciplinary team of experts, which helped us develop our idea and presentation forward. We look forward to future cooperation with Humuspehtoori,” says Saara Tuhkanen, Weeefiner’s development manager.

“A great, out-of-the-ordinary day behind us. The hackathon was a great opportunity for networking and meeting new people. The sparring we received was of high quality and helped us structure our presentation. And of course, winning warms our hearts as we got recognition for our innovation”, says Tuija Solismaa-Pirnes, Weeefiner’s laboratory manager.

Nitrogen back to the field as fertilizer

The manufacturer of recycled fertilizers Humuspehtoori Oy utilizes side streams from agriculture and forestry as well as other materials classified as waste in the production of soil conditioners and fertilizers.

Nitrogen recovery has been a growth bottleneck in Humuspehtoori’s business for a long time. Currently, the runoff water from the composting field is partly treated in wetlands and in the combing department. Over time, the ability of the wetland to bind nutrients has weakened, while the quality of the treatment sludge has improved. Now they seek for updated water treatment solution that would require less human resources and be more cost-effiecient.

The solution proposed by Weeefiner is based on 4D Scavenger technology, which can be customized for the recovery of various metals and nutrients. In this case, 4D Scavenger is customized to capture nitrogen. When the 4D Scavenger’s capacity is full, it can be washed with a suitable solution, resulting in a concentrated nitrogen solution that can be used as fertilizer.

With the help of the solution, Humuspehtoori can not only save on operating costs and clean the effluent more efficiently, but also return nitrogen to reuse and even find new business opportunities.

Growing need for recycled nutrients

Nutrient cycling and recycled fertilizers are current topics among both farmers and EU decision-makers. Solutions are being developed in many directions to bring nutrients from wastewater, manure, and industrial side streams back to the field to replace fossil fertilizers and reduce the eutrophication of water bodies. At the same time, more efficient recycling of nutrients contributes to the security of supply in agriculture.

Weeefiner Oy has previously focused on solving challenges related to the recovery of dissolved metals, but now the operation has also expanded to the nutrient side. The success of the hackathon clearly shows that there is a huge need for recovery solutions and Weeefiner can help meet this need.

About HumuspehtooriHackathon

The hackathon was organized by Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences’ business accelerator BioPaavo together with Maaseutuverkosto, Suomen Biokierto and Biokaasu ry and Kasvu Open. The hackathon is commissioned (and enabled) by the Maaseutuverkosto’s Vihreä kasvu theme group, one of whose tasks is to highlight new perspectives to improve the sustainable competitiveness of rural areas and to promote the introduction of new innovations. In the activities of the Vihreä kasvu theme group, the aim is to combine ecological sustainability with the profitability of primary production.

 More information from Finnish media: kemiamedia.fi

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