Get to know us: Professor Olli Dahl
What got you interested in Clean Technologies?
I have always been interested in environmental issues, and nowadays also sustainability issues. I want to improve the already existing industrial processes and make them more environmentally friendly and sustainable. I also want to develop new industrial processes and make them sustainable to start with. Therefore, Clean Technologies felt like the right path for me.
What is the main goal of your research group?
Our main goal is to plan and develop new processes to make sustainable products. We also develop wastewater treatment systems and try to reduce the consumption of fresh water in the process industry. Additionally, we recycle residuals from the process industry and make life-cycle-assessment calculations.
How will our society benefit from your research?
I try to invest in research that creates something new and creates jobs for people. Companies that have been established from my research group are for example Toihan Ltd, which works with improving wastewater treatment process performance, and Nordic Bioproduct Group Ltd, which helps industries fight global warming with innovative bioproducts and bioproduction technologies. Some other spinoff companies, that are in the making, will be coming soon. These companies are my contribution to our society.
What is the most interesting thing you are working on right now?
I’m now developing new applications for AaltoCell™. The focus is on that all fibers that are produced are edible. I have also created a new fertilizer in the RAKIKY-project which could replace the virgin NPK fertilizer. It’s produced from wood based fly ash and compost.
What part of your career have you liked the most?
During my career, I have understood that there are many things that are required for the commercialization of inventions. Research is only one part in this value chain. It seems to me that the road from invention to business lasts 10 years. I think that that’s why I like this part of my career, right now. This is when I get to see my own hands work.
This interview is conducted by Mikaela Kumlin who has been working during the summer at the School of Chemical Engineering.