New materials required by circular economy will be researched in a new joint laboratory in Otaniemi

Finland could be a global leader in the research and innovations of inorganic raw materials and new materials in circular economy.
Circular Raw Materials Hub -yhteislaboratorio
The joint Circular Raw Materials Hub will focus on solving the research challenges related to inorganic materials and minerals.

Aalto University, Geological Survey of Finland GTK and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland are founding a new laboratory hub in the Otaniemi campus area with the aim to focus on solving the challenges of circular economy. The joint Circular Raw Materials Hub will focus on solving the research challenges related to inorganic materials and minerals.

The most central focus points for research will be the new and changing materials requirements of the future, materials recycling and recovery, primary and secondary raw materials and their properties, as well as research on critical minerals in the EU. For example, storing energy with different kinds of batteries will increase the demand of primary raw materials in the future. Primary raw materials are natural materials that are being used for the first time. Secondary raw materials include the secondary flows produced by extracting, enriching and further processing primary raw materials and producing final products using primary raw materials. The goal is to open the joint laboratory in October 2019.

‘Closer co-operation is going to further strengthen our expertise in new innovative materials and circular economy materials’, reports Distinguished Professor Maarit Karppinen, coordinator of RawMatTERS Finland Infrastructure (RAMI). RAMI is included in the Academy of Finland research infrastructure roadmap.

‘This is an important step towards stronger cooperation for solving the challenges of circular economy and for boosting further improvement in the level of scientific research’, says Mika Nykänen, Director General at Geological Survey of Finland (GTK).

‘Our scientific expertise is top-level by international standards, and we are using it to solve the materials challenges of our customers and partners; we generate clear added value and new kinds of opportunities for creating a sustainable circular economy in industry’, says Tarja Laitinen who is Head of Research Area at VTT and responsible for materials modelling and inorganic materials development.

Academy of Finland supports the development of infrastructure

On January 18, Academy of Finland granted EUR 2.1 million in funding to the RAMI consortium formed by Aalto, GTK and VTT for developing the infrastructure of raw materials research. This funding will be part of equipment investments of over EUR 3 million in future years. In addition to a research community, the new infrastructure to be placed in the Circular Raw Materials Hub will offer unique services for industry and other stakeholders.

‘The funding from Academy of Finland has a significant impact on the development of our research infrastructure. With the microanalyser being acquired now, we are enabling even closer analysis on a very small scale. It will be very valuable for researching new materials and analysing minerals that our society needs now and in the future’, says Director Saku Vuori who is responsible for research and innovation at GTK.

‘This new funding is an important addition for developing the characterisation and processing capabilities of materials research at Aalto, and it strengthens the national Raw Materials Research infrastructure which is developing wonderfully’, says Professor Jari Koskinen from Aalto University.

‘With the new infrastructure, we are leaping forward in digitalisation – going forward, we will use the same platform for managing experimental and model-based data, and our ability to digitally optimise materials is still growing. We are also enforcing our expertise in digital manufacturing with a new type of 3D printer’, says Tarja Laitinen.

Further information:

Aalto University
Professor, Head of Department Jari Koskinen
[email protected]
+358 50 5956 677

Geological Survey of Finland
Director, scientific research Saku Vuori
[email protected]
+358 400 249 085

Technical Research Centre of Finland VTT
Vice President Tarja Laitinen
[email protected]
+358 40 8222 905

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