Bridging the gap between research and education for the circular bioeconomy

BREC visit to Finland

16 November 2023
The BREC teacher reference group travelled to Finland for a study trip as part of the series of two main competence development events for teachers.
Technical details

Between the 17th and 19th of  October 2023 the BREC teacher reference group travelled to Finland for a study trip as part of the series of two main competence development events for teachers. The participants first visited the NEVEL food waste, sewage sludge processing plant, were we got acquainted with process - how the organic waste, surplus of food industry and stores, expired products are cleaned from metal, glass, plastic packaging and how the subsequent processing is done from organic mass to  biogas fermenters. The obtained biogas is partly used to obtain water vapor necessary for the technological process, part is used to obtain electricity and heat in cogeneration facilities, part of the biogas is additionally purified and enriched to obtain biomethane, which is used at a nearby CNG filling station. Also, in NEVEL, we were introduced to the management of the digestate obtained in the biogas production process. During the agricultural season, digestate is given free of charge to nearby agricultural enterprises for field fertilization. During the winter period, the dry matter fraction is separated from the digestate with the help of centrifuges and stored until the spring agricultural season and returned to the farmers. The liquid fraction is additionally treated with Na alkali (degrading the remaining soluble organic matter), then with sulfuric acid (yielding ammonium sulphate) to separate ammonium, nitrate and nitrite ions. The purified water is partly discharged into the technological process (for rinsing packaging materials, diluting sewage sludge and organic mass to the technologically necessary 10% dry matter), partly through purification (aeration) equipment back to nature.

The BREC teacher reference group also visited the laboratories of LUKE research centre (one of our project partners), where we gained more insight into biogas, green bioreffinery and biochar processes and research.

On the second day teacher reference group met at the LUKE research centre in Jokioinen to attend workshops and discuss how to best develop content for the educational materials, cooperation opportunities and the use of project ideas and materials. Ideas were discussed about internship opportunities for vocational schools and university students and exchange programs between the countries involved in this project with the goal of building on the current partnerships and with the sustainability of results in mind. The content for the lesson plan will be built on the lessons goals developed earlier in the project, and the representative teachers from each project region took on responsibility for content based on this year’s competence development webinars and their skills in the various subjects and expertise.