2020-06-12 07:20Press release

Ragn-Sells invests in resource saving carbon capture and utilisation project in Estonia


Environmental company Ragn-Sells invests approximately one million euros in expanded research into extracting valuable materials from the ashes from oil shale incineration in Estonia. Laboratory studies have yielded positive results in a field where large quantities of resources are not put to use today.

– Estonia is dependent on oil shale for energy and transitioning to carbon neutral energy sources takes time. By capturing valuable raw materials in the ash and replacing virgin alternatives on the market, we can significantly reduce the carbon footprint of the Estonian energy production, says Rain Vääna, Chairman of the board of Ragn-Sells Estonia.

The ash produced by incinerating oil shale is rich in resources that are traded in regular commodity markets. Despite this, a very small share of the ash is currently recovered, and no viable industrial systems exist for extracting these resources. Ragn-Sells million-euro investment in research and development is aimed at finding the most suitable technology for large-scale extraction.

– The European Union is determined to stop wasting resources and transition into a circular economy. Large-scale circular solutions for the industry are crucial in moving forward with that transition, says Mr. Vääna. 

For the research, Ragn-Sells has partnered with scientists from TalTech University and the University of Tartu. During the past few years, laboratory tests have shown very promising result which motivate further exploration from a business perspective. Ragn-Sells is also closely cooperating with Eesti Energia as being an important stakeholder for the project going forward.

One of the main components from the ash which shows significant economic potential is precipitated calcium carbonate, or PCC. PCC is used in a wide variety of products, such as adhesives, sealants, food and pharmaceuticals, paints, coatings, paper, cements, and construction materials. Current production of PCC is based on mining of limestone in quarries followed by thermal processes using large amounts of fossil fuels. 

– Our innovative solution combines smart chemistry processes with carbon capture to produce the PCC product, so-called carbon capture and utilisation. This enables us to save huge amounts of virgin resources and reduce the climate footprint significantly compared to current production of PCC. Our technology can also be used for mining existing landfills of ashes from the oil the shale industry and convert these into products, says Anders Kihl, Chief Strategy and R&D Officer at Ragn-Sells.

Last year, more than 6 million metric tonnes of oil shale ash were generated in Estonia. Only 400,000 tonnes were recovered. Existing landfills of oil shale ash contains approximately 100 million ton of ashes.

– Today’s society is based on an unsustainable use of natural resources. Ragn-Sells is committed to bringing more resources back into the loop, says Mr. Vääna. 

The project has been granted 204,000 euros in investment support from the Archimedes Foundation, Estonia’s governmental mechanism for distributing research funds from the European Regional Development Fund. 

For more information, please contact
Rain Vääna, Chairman, Ragn-Sells Estonia, +372 60 60 403, rain.vaana@ragnsells.com

Anders Kihl, Chief Strategy and R&D Officer, Ragn-Sells Group, +46 70-927 26 84, anders.kihl@ragnsells.com

Ragn-Sells Media Services, +46 70-927 24 00, medialinjen@ragnsells.com

Fact box: Ragn-SellsRagn-Sells is a privately held corporate group operating companies in four countries; Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Estonia. Our headquarters are located near Stockholm, Sweden. We collect, treat and recycle waste and residual products from businesses, organisations and households, with the aim of bringing resources back into the loop and enable a circular society. 

About Ragn-Sells Group

The Ragn-Sells Group is a privately held corporate group, operating companies in four countries.


Emma Ranerfors
Press Officer
Emma Ranerfors