Published 2021-06-09

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Mistra TerraClean gets SEK 57m to eliminate pollution

Mistra’s Board has decided to award the Mistra TerraClean research programme funding of up to SEK 57 million for a second phase over the coming four-year period. Plans include building on previous work to remove PFAS from water.

Mistra TerraClean, with KTH Royal Institute of Technology as the main contractor, is working to develop smart, safe materials and technologies that eliminate pollution in air, water and soil. The programme started in 2017 with research funding from Mistra. Its approach is based on closely coordinated materials development and life-cycle assessment for early detection of adverse environmental and health impacts in both the short and the long term.

Following an international expert panel’s review, Mistra’s Board has decided to award research funding of up to SEK 57m for the programme for a second four-year phase (2021‒25). The review panel has highlighted the programme’s ability to integrate stakeholders outside academia, and sees potential for the programme to generate new knowledge of great value in a second phase. The panel therefore recommends that Mistra TerraClean should explore the potential for further improvements in the smart and customisable capacity of the materials and technologies, while continuing to build on, and take advantage of, the flourishing network and the partners associated with the programme.

‘The programme passed the mid-term review with flying colours, and there are good prospects for a successful second phase. One strength is that they managed to attract important industrial partners,’ says Johan Edman, Mistra Programmes Director.

Earlier this year, Mistra TerraClean was awarded the VA Prize and won acclaim for its development of technologies that, in laboratory experiments, removed over 90 per cent of the PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, a collective term for a group of industrially produced chemicals) in water. Until September this year, the purification technique is being tested on a large scale at a pilot plant at Hammarby Sjöstadsverk (a municipal wastewater treatment plant in south Stockholm, and Sweden’s leading R&D and demonstration facility in water treatment technology) to see whether it works for high-volume water treatment and for a long period. Chemical composition, levels and toxicity of the pollutants created during capture will also be investigated at the pilot plant. PFAS will be an important part of the programme’s continued work, and the results and lessons learnt from the first phase are seen as means of paving the way for, and accelerating, further development of other materials and technologies.

‘Those of us who work in Mistra TerraClean are honoured by the trust Mistra has placed in us, and we’re looking forward to working faster, and in greater breadth and depth, to create sustainable, smart and competitive materials for clean air and water. We’re also looking forward to welcoming new members into our strong consortium of parties from universities, research institutes and industry, and to the new challenges we’re planning to address together,’ says Ulrica Edlund, Programme Director of Mistra TerraClean.

Besides KTH Royal Institute of Technology, the Mistra TerraClean consortium includes Stockholm University, Uppsala University, Swetox (an academic research centre for chemicals, health and the environment), IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute, RISE Research Institutes of Sweden, Innovation and Chemical Industries in Sweden (IKEM) and several companies.

Read more about Mistra TerraClean here.