Fine particles back into the raw material cycle
Industrial processes always produce fine-grained residues. These rarely find their way back into the industrial value chain, but are usually disposed of and represent a potential environmental risk. The FINEST project records and investigates various of these fine-grained material flows with the aim of developing new concepts to keep them in the cycle and safely dispose of remaining residues.
FINEST was successful in the Helmholtz Association's sustainability competition and will now receive 5 million euros in funding.
The project is coordinated by the Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology (HIF) at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) and involves teams at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB), the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), the TU Bergakademie Freiberg (TUBAF) and the University of Greifswald.
The HZB is participating in FINEST in a project on the degradation of microplastics. "Together with the UFZ, we want to investigate how microplastic particles can be degraded, for example by bacterial enzymes that we improve on a structure basis. In addition, we also want to work with the HZDR to develop new detection methods for micro- and nanoplastics," says Dr. Gert Weber, who conducts research in the Macromolecular Crystallography Group at the HZB.
Starting in July 2022, the researchers from the six participating institutions will work in the five-year project on ultra-fine materials of anthropogenic origin such as microplastics, mineral additives (additives) or metals, for which there are currently hardly any recycling options. Innovative processes are to be used to increase the currently still very low recycling rates of these fine particulate materials and to deposit the remaining residues harmlessly in order to advance a sustainable circular economy.