Innovative solutions for capturing microplastics

Microplastics – that is, plastic particles less than five millimetres in diameter — enter our water sources from our residential, agricultural, manufacturing, and industrial waste. Once in our ecosystem, the European Commission warns “microplastics can accumulate and are highly persistent, thus posing a potential threat to our environment and health. Limiting microplastics added deliberately to cosmetics, paints, or detergents is one intervention by the Commission, and a Czech study found that 82% of such plastics could be removed at water treatment plants. But: what if we were able to capture those particles before they make it into our waterways? 

That’s the approach of VTT researchers in a method they are developing that uses nanocellulose structures to identify and capture very small microplastic particles. As part of the FinnCERES flagship, such a filtration system would catch microplastics where they are being introduced at the source. 

Read more about this New solution to capture microplastics before they enter waterways at 

The research team includes VTT’s Senior Scientist and project manager Suvi Arola, Research Professor Tekla Tammelin, Senior Scientist Timo Lappalainen; Aalto Staff Scientist Ben Wilson (Aalto project manager); and doctoral students Tia Lohtander (Aalto and VTT), Christopher Jonkergouw (Aalto) and Ilona Leppänen (VTT).

Leppänen presented some preliminary results at our 3 March 2020 event, Redefining Bioeconomy: From research to action, a fine example of FinnCERES Young Talents. We hope you will join us at future FinnCERES happenings.