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Anita Pettersson

2016-09-20 09:39

Recycle sludge for a sustainable environment


Anita Pettersson wants to create a more sustainable environment by reusing what already exists.

“In my research, I look at the thermal treatment of waste, such as combustion or gasification of material. My focus right now is the recovery of materials from production by-products, for example zinc and phosphorous.”

Anita Pettersson is, in addition to Docent in Energy Technology, also the responsible instructor for the international Master’s programme in Resource Recovery, which means that she has a broad base of knowledge within the many elements of material recovery. But in her own research, she currently studies the important nutrient phosphorous, in which she has long been interested.

“It goes in waves. Right now it is popular to study phosphorous, but I began looking at phosphorous from sludge back when I was a doctoral student.”

Project phosphorous recovery

Today, Anita supervises a doctoral student together with Borås Energi and Miljö AB, focusing on phosphorous recovery from sludge and other materials, such as, for example, agricultural waste. When one speaks of recycling phosphorous, it can either mean returning to industry and becoming products, or as nutrients in farmland. Phosphorous is used in different products, but fertilisers are the most common.

“In the method we are looking at, we want to create fertiliser directly so that it will be as simple and cheap as possible. Previously, there have been several different process for phosphorous recycling, but they are entirely too expensive, which leads to their not going any farther than the research project. The focus therefore is on finding good and simple ways to directly obtain fertiliser that is pure so that it does not leave any impurities in the ground.” Facts
Lives: Seglora
In my free time: I work with my horses
What makes me happy: my grandchildren
If I weren't a reseracher: I would work at an energy company
Fictional dinner guest: Nelson Mandela

Several collaborations

Anita is active in several projects where the collaborative partners have a considerable role.

”We have quite a lot of collaboration with Borås Energi and Miljö AB. I had a doctoral student who finished just now before the summer who did several projects tied to its operations. We have also collaboration with, among others, Renova, a leading company within waste and recycling, which has built up a pilot facility where our students have worked with different projects.”

“Another project I am participating in deals with out how take advantage of unused resources in waste fly ash. In that project, we collaborate with Renova, Chalmers, SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden and IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute. In the project, we have analysed what kinds of ash there are, what kinds of methods there are today to take care of ash, and what one can do in the future.“

The University of Borås is one of the biggest actors when it comes to ash of this type in Sweden.

“We have a large research group with focus on materials and resource recovery. We also have a good research environment and have produced many doctoral students in recent years, which is very fun,” concludes Anita.

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More about Anita Petterssons research