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Ragn-Sells’ way of solving the oil shale ash quest in Estonia

While very few have ever even heard of oil shale, it is the number one energy source in Estonia. The country is mining 15 million tons of this brown rock per year and is left with 7 million tons of ash annually after burning it for obtaining energy. Less than a year after the Oil Shale Ash project started, the team has already filed two patent applications on how oil shale ash can be upcycled, instead of piling it as waste.

Hussain Azeez Mohamed studied environmental engineering and sustainable infrastructure at KTH when he came in touch with Ragn-Sells in 2017. Ragn-Sells knew that only 3% of the left-over ash from the oil shale industry was being used. The rest was just deposited in large mountains and wide fields and Ragn-Sells wanted to find a solution to the problem. Azeez’ task together with a fellow student was to characterize the material, figure out how toxic it was and do some simple experiments to see if some kind of industrial product could be synthesized from it. In their thesis they managed to identify a few different application areas where it could be used.

- Half a year later Ragn-Sells contacted me, asked if I was still in Stockholm and if I wanted to continue to work on this project for real. It turned out to be a dream job, very exciting and challenging at the same time, and a bit scary since it’s just been researched and not practically realised yet, says Azeez who now works as materials development engineer at Ragn-Sells.

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  • Environmental technology, Recycling


Emma Ranerfors

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