The development of society towards sustainability has traditionally been driven by legislation. Today, systemic strategies for sustainable development in which environmental, social and economic dimensions are held in balance are being increasingly adopted.
At the same time, the societal and economic importance of clean technologies is growing. Water- and mineral-intensive industries face increasing challenges in meeting their demand for mineral and water resources. More efficient methods of reuse and withdrawal need to be developed using cross-technological approaches. New opportunities within sustain- able development are emerging as environmental issues gain a strategic role in business. We are in a transition from separate single-plant raw material and waste treatment solutions towards industrial symbiosis in which environmental impacts are minimized throughout the product life cycle.
VTT’s spearhead programme Green Solutions for Water and Waste (GWW, 2011—2013) targeted two important goals vital to tomorrow’s society – efficient water treatment and waste management. This work is continued in VTT’s follow-up programmes “Bioeconomy Transformation” and “Mineral Economy”.
The core technologies developed include energy-efficient membrane solutions for industrial water reuse, methods for the recovery of valuable compounds from waste and side streams, and novel water quality sensors. This edition of Research Highlights showcases the excellent advances VTT has made in these areas within the GWW programme.