The environmental company Ragn-Sells’ Oil Shale Ash Project has been granted 1.7 million Euros from Enterprise Estonia’s Applied Research Programme. The project uses the ashes from oil shale incineration in Estonia to produce the world’s first climate-positive calcium carbonate for use in paper, cardboard, plastic, and building materials.
– If we are serious about creating a sustainable society, we have to start using the materials we already have as often as possible. Thanks to the support from Enterprise Estonia, we can produce enough recycled calcium carbonate from discarded oil shale ash and captured carbon dioxide for our partners to use in their pilot products, says Alar Saluste, project manager at Ragn-Sells.
The funding will enable Ragn-Sells, in cooperation with researchers at Tallinn Technical University and the University of Tartu, to carry out the next steps in the industrial tests required for the production of calcium carbonate out of oil shale ash. In addition, the investment from Enterprise Estonia also enables continued research on other raw materials that could be extracted and recycled from oil shale ash.
In the process, the ash is combined with captured carbon dioxide to produce calcium carbonate, a commercial product used in many applications such as paper, cardboard, plastic, and building materials. Today, carbonate is produced by mining and burning limestone, which causes large emissions that harm the climate.
– Today’s use of natural resources is not sustainable. With the Oil Shale Ash technology, we can bring valuable resources back into the loop. By using existing oil shale ash instead of burning limestone, commercial production of climate-positive calcium carbonate out of oil shale ash can be a reality within the next three to four years, says Alar Saluste.
The goal of the Oil Shale Ash project is to reuse ash generated in the production of electricity from oil shale in Estonia. Initially, the plan is to produce high-quality calcium carbonate by using 1.3 million tonnes of deposited oil shale ash each year. The calcium from the ash will capture and bind about 600,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide, making the product climate-positive.
– The calcium carbonate produced from oil shale ash is a great example of circular economy, reducing the environmental burden in Estonia as well as the need to mine virgin materials. At the same time, this unique technology will capture CO2 during the production, making it the world’s only climate-positive calcium carbonate, says Alar Saluste.
For more information, please contact:
Alar Saluste, Project Manager, email@example.com, +372 5349 4861
Emma Ranerfors, Press Officer, firstname.lastname@example.org, +46 10 723 24 16
Read Ragn-Sells Estonia’s press release (in Estonian)
Fact box: The Oil Shale Ash Project
The Oil Shale Ash Project is a collaboration between Swedish environmental company Ragn-Sells, Tallinn Technical University (TalTech), University of Tartu and the state-owned energy company Eesti Energia (known internationally as Enefit).
Ragn-Sells is a family owned corporate group, with operations in four countries. We started our journey in 1881, and since 1966 we have been involved in waste management, environmental services, and recycling. We collect, treat, detoxify, and recycle waste and residual products from businesses, organisations, and households so that they can become feedstock into new production processes. www.ragnsells.com