The duo leading Weeefiner was awarded as Young Researcher Entrepreneurs of the Year

Weeefiner’s CEO Mikko Hänninen and CTO Elmeri Lahtinen were honored with the Young Researcher Entrepreneur of the Year 2022 award by the KAUTE Foundation. The two PhDs were selected as winners due to their research-based and circular economy-promoting business.

As raw material shortages afflict Europe, new ways must be invented to utilize existing valuable materials more efficiently. The acclaimed Weeefiner offers innovative water treatment solutions that allow the recovery and reuse of metals and nutrients found in wastewater.

This topic is particularly crucial right now as Europe is awakening to the scarcity of critical materials, and events like the Ukrainian conflict have further complicated the import of raw materials. Simultaneously, recycling can reduce the use of virgin raw materials, thereby conserving natural resources and reducing emissions.

Combination of chemistry and 3D printing

Weeefiner’s operations are based on a novel method that combines chemical processes with mechanical 3D manufacturing techniques. Weeefiner Ltd. was established in 2017 to continue technology development, and after completing research work, customer operations commenced in 2020. The company has already undergone two successful investment rounds, and now it envisions collaboration agreements with global enterprises.

The company’s CEO and CTO, Hänninen and Lahtinen, have been with Weeefiner since its inception. Their dedication and innovative work in the field of circular economy solutions have now been recognized with the Young Researcher Entrepreneur award, which signifies esteemed recognition and an opportunity to support their well-being.

“It feels truly rewarding when years of hard work are acknowledged! The availability of critical materials is more important than ever, and I believe the judging panel has noticed this,” expresses Hänninen.

The win was based on a strong research background

The philosophy doctors Hänninen and Lahtinen were selected as the winners of the Young Researcher Entrepreneur of the Year 2022 award from a pool of high-quality proposals. The company’s solid research foundation and dedication to promoting the circular economy were particularly influential in their selection.

“The company’s operations are built strongly on the founders’ expertise and research conducted at the university. Despite their young age, the company has already demonstrated the effectiveness of their solution in the market,” describes the judging panel in their decision.

“The Young Researcher Entrepreneur of the Year” is a recognition award of 5,000 euros granted annually by the KAUTE Foundation to a researcher who has successfully established a business based on their research in the fields of commerce and technology. This year, the judging panel consisted of Mikael Pentikäinen, CEO of Suomen Yrittäjät (The Federation of Finnish Enterprises), Timo Saranpää, Chairman of Akavan Akateemiset Yrittäjät (Academic Entrepreneurs of Akava), Kai Saksela, CEO of NL Acoustics Oy and the Young Researcher Entrepreneur of 2021, and Tuomas Olkku, representative of the KAUTE Foundation.

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