Inventions Boost Environmental Business in Oulu, Finland

Share Article

The globally increasing demand for water treatment and recycling, and sludge treatment techniques have prompted scientists and companies in Oulu, Finland, to invest in the environmental business. Several breakthroughs and success stories have encouraged big and small companies to enter the field.

The city of Oulu, Finland, gathered together the main players in the environmental business, and a wide-ranged co-operation agreement supporting environmental business was signed in June in Oulu by the city of Oulu, Eco Forum of the Oulu Region Centre of Expertise, Kemira, Stora Enso's Oulu plant, Rautaruukki, Outokumpu, the University of Oulu, and Oulu Polytechnic.

The parties of the agreement agree to search for and to implement customer-oriented development projects related to the environmental sector, which support the operation of the parties. "The university and polytechnic bring research and educational know-how to this agreement. Eco Forum represents companies that are actually developing environmental technology. Its task is to build bridges between major players needing environmental technology, small and mid-sized companies developing it, and research communities, says Eco Forum's programme manager Eero Huttunen.

The leader of the field is global chemicals enterprise Kemira Oyj, which is listed on the Helsinki Stock Exchange, and which has developed new sludge conditioning technology with the help of its about one hundred Oulu-based research persons.

Kemira's Kemwater unit operates in Europe, Asia, and in North and South America. Kemwater reported in 2003 net sales of EUR 215 million with its over 1,000 employees . Chemical treatment of drinking and waste water is estimated to grow worldwide by about 4-5 per cent annually. The newest product of Kemwater is its Kemicond sludge treatment solution, which reduces sludge volume, improves sludge hygienity, and removes bad odours.

Also smaller Oulu-based companies such as Envitop, Green Rock, Pipelife Finland, and Propipe have found business opportunities out of the water treatment market. Each company has special know-how in the field helping them to reach global markets.

Green Rock Ltd. has a strong knowledge and research base in wastewater treatment, especially in its own rockfiber based filtration/treatment segment. Green Rock Ltd. is a leading manufacturer of compact, small- and medium-sized wastewater treatment plants, regardless of its small

company background. Units, varying from a capacity of 0,5-300 m3 per day, are suitable

for the primary wastewater treatment of small weekend cottages as well as for villages or hotel resorts.

Tailormade solutions have also been provided for areas with irregular influent. Those can be camping sites, ski resorts, yacht clubs etc. These projects are implemented using Green Rock-filters, which can be used as biological and mechanical filters or as a secondary filtration method.

This method enables very low effluent even in the case of high influent and less nutrients reach the environment. Green Rock has sales offices and dealers in the UK, Sweden, Norway,

Baltic States, Greece and Russia.

"The main driver for our products is the EU, which requires that all the waste water must be treated after 2005," managing director Juha Huhta says.

The environmental business is heavily backed by the University of Oulu. Water Resources and Environmental Engineering Laboratory of the University of Oulu carries out research and teaching in water and soil environmental engineering, water supply, water, and wastewater treatment. The benefits of the university are significant for the business development in the region. The leader is Professor Jaakko Rämö, who completed his academic dissertation in 2003. His topic was “Hydrogen peroxide- metals- chelating agents; interactions and analytical techniques”.

The research of the laboratory concentrates on description, modeling and solving environmental problems typical for northern waters, soils, water supply and wastewaters. The most important research fields are: contaminant transport in water and soils, remediation of contaminated grounds, groundwater engineering, treatment of peat harvesting runoff waters, water supply and water treatment in non-urban areas, constructed wetlands for water treatment, drinking water and wastewater treatment, chemical treatment of water, landfills, and utilization of waste materials and industrial byproducts.

For further information, please contact


Oulu, Finland

Mr. Eero Huttunen

Programme Director

Tel +358 50 320 7245

# # #

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Paavo Vasala
Visit website