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From Hazardous Waste to Reusable Raw Materials

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - EPSETECH (From Hazardous Waste to Reusable Raw Materials)

Reporting period: 2020-04-01 to 2020-09-30

Hazardous wastewaters generated during chemical production, manufacturing, mining and other industrial activities can cause substantial harm to human health or to the environment. To limit the negative side effects of otherwise essential industries, governments closely regulate the practice of hazardous waste management. While reduction and recycling are the most desirable options for waste management, it is not always possible or economically rational and there is always a need for treatment. The problem is that currently available treatment technologies do not fully eliminate the environmental hazard. The sludge that is left over after the treatment processes is still hazardous and requires proper disposal. For most such wastes, land disposal is the ultimate destination, although it is not an attractive practice, because of the inherent environmental risks involved. A common temporary storage solution for hazardous liquid waste is an open pit or holding pond, called a lagoon.
Protection of groundwater as a resource is crucial for our survival and sustainable development. Most of EU inhabitants depend on groundwater for their drinking water, but not less important is its role as a link in the overall hydrological cycle and ecosystems through the maintenance of wetlands and river flows.
Global EcoProcess Services Oy (EPSE) has developed and patented a new technology that turns hazardous waste into valuable raw material. We are specialising in the treatment of industrial and mining wastewater containing soluble metals. High volume of wastewater containing heavy metals such as arsenic, chromium, mercury, nitrogen and lead are inevitable result of industries like electronics manufacturing, heavy industry, metal and surface treatment as well as mining. This SMEI project focuses on speeding up our sales cycle for full scale market introduction in the hazardous wastewater treatment industry. Our current lab scale piloting opportunities are not sufficient to reach large industrial customers. Manufacturers and mine owners want to test new technology on their premises, yet stopping normal business operations for that is costly and involves too high risks.
Standard solution for this is portable pilot equipment (e.g. inside a movable shipping container) delivered by the technology provider that can be used on the side without disturbing the production. During the project we will build this required on-site piloting capability by developing and building portable pilot equipment and monitoring software for efficient on-site technology demonstrations. We will pilot our portable piloting equipment with 3 customers to collect and analyse market segment specific customer feedback and finalize the pilot equipment development. To take full advantage of the improved piloting process, we aim to carry out wide-scale dissemination and communication activities among potential customers, develop global partner network, and continue with our established IP protection strategy.
1. Portable pilot equipment
We have optimized our initial piloting unit prototype and made several tests with it. By testing we have collected information and established the requirements for the new piloting units. After bidding we have planned the mechanics and the automation with the help of a subcontractor. Based on the technical documentation that has been created we have found the best suppliers, ordered the components for assembling and finalized the first of the three portable pilot units and also further developed it.

2. Pilots
We have developed and finalized piloting guidance and standardised agreement templates for the pilots. Piloting process has been documented and tested. We have collected knowledge and experience by analysing several customer samples, conducting tens of lab tests and made four successful pilot test with 7 different type of waste fractions.

3. Business development, commercialisation and scale up
We have published our new website in 5 different language, determinated our key markets and clarified our strategy. We have contacted directly more than 100 potential clients in Finland, Europe, Asia, Northern and Southern America, Africa and Australia and attended conferences in Finland, Chile, Ghana, Russia and in China. After testing customer samples, we have signed several LOI’s or MOU’s in Europe and in Asia to go forward with the piloting. In Finland we have signed total of 12 licence and project agreements. IP protection has gone forward during the project as planned and patent protection has expanded to 82 different countries. EPSE -trademark has been granted in EU for the process and for the chemical. Licence, sub-licence and end-user licence agreements are ready and part of the IP protection strategy.
We are working on a revolutionary technology and are determined to make a European company an innovation leader in hazardous waste treatment and limit the accumulation of hazardous waste across the world.
Our ambitious goal involves both high risks as well as high rewards. Large manufacturers can be rather conservative when choosing a new technology provider since mistakes leading to downtime or violation of environmental obligations can be very costly. However, the market opportunity is significant and growing – volume of industrial wastewater is increasing and disposal to landfill is still the dominant waste management route, while we are offering a more sustainable and less costly alternative.
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