BioSO4 has developed a patented method to recycle the various sulphur compounds in waste waters. The origins of the innovation can be traced back to the East, when three researchers from Kuopio went to contemplate what to do with a huge mountain of shrimp waste. According to a Vietnamese company, in 2025 it could produce as much as 420 tonnes of smelly waste that is difficult to manage every day.
"The Vietnamese sent shrimp shell samples to Professor Jouko Vepsäläinen in Finland some five years ago, and he set out to solve the problem", says CEO Lasse Moilanen of BiosO4. "Within a year, we has six commercial products developed from shrimp shells in our hands, and we applied for a patent. The innovation, that is, the biopolymere method, can be used to recover harmful sulphur compounds from waters and gases.
‘Ours are zero-waste processes. We develop our products so that they can be used by the mining industry, too. In addition, we are developing a method to recover zinc, copper and nickel compounds from water", Mr Moilanen says.
Full speed to the global markets
A company was established to commercialise the innovation, and a suitable mix of leading experts from various fields were put together. The company already exports to some ten countries.
"Our goal is to create an all-inclusive sulphur management package by 2030 and increase our net sales to €20 million", says Mr Moilanen.
The Circular Economy Centre has also played a part in boosting the growth story of the start-up, established a couple of years ago.
"When I heard about BioSO4’s ideas, I suggested that VTT and Business Finland may be able to help in further developing their operations", says Manager Tuomas Pussila of the Circular Economy Centre. This kind of work as an intermediary is an important part of the operations of the Circular Economy Centre.
A tip from the Circular Economy Centre led to cooperation with VTT
The tip truly paid off as BioSO4 was accepted to the two-year CO-Innovation TYPKI of Business Finland and VTT. The project aims to promote R&D and exports in 2021–2023. TYPKI focuses on developing new circular economy products from nutrients in industrial waste waters that would otherwise end up polluting nature.
"VTT and the University of Oulu are in charge of research in this project, in addition to which we cooperate with international research institutes. We provide research support to companies participating in the project in order to create more success stories for the benefit of Finnish industry", says Senior Scientist Hanna Kyllönen of VTT.
The project is financially important. The value of the BioSO4 business project, which is carried out as part of the overall project, is a total of €326,000.
"The project is an important part of the company’s growth. We are able to focus on our core business, commercialisation, measurements and collaborate not only with research institutes but also with other companies in the project. I would like to warmly thank the Circular Economy Centre for opening up our cooperation and dialogue with VTT. It has also offered us many other networks, in addition to this project" Mr Moilanen said, praising the Circular Economy Centre.
Circular economy business is not easy, but attitudes towards it are now positive. Environmental legislation and regulations are becoming more stringent, which makes the circular economy all the more attractive. You can only fare well in global competition by being truly excellent, Mr Moilanen, Mrs Kyllönen and Mr Pussila unanimously confirm.
BY SOILE SUVANTO