Mistra TerraClean develops smart and safe engineered materials and devices for clean air and water.

Ensuring clean air and water for all is an integral challenge for a sustainable future and directly addressed by the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Innovation and technologies that support the improvement of water and air quality, resource and waste management are urgently needed. Knowledge is the key to progress and to reach the goals.

The need to more effectively capture pollutants released into the air, water and industrial effluents is continuously increasing. Climate change, exponential population growth, and man-generated emissions threaten the world’s supply of water resources with severe implications for the economy, environment, and human health. Also, emissions to air and insufficient cleaning technologies pose threats to social, economic, and environmental sustainability.

Regardless of the source, current cleaning technologies must be improved to sufficiently address current and future challenges with respect to energy efficiency and sustainability (reuse, recycle, waste reduction, raw materials…). Yet a limitation with today’s solutions is that they do not have the ability to adapt to variations in operating conditions. Another challenge is that traditional filters and membranes will not be able to capture all types of pollutants, especially substances that occur in minute quantities.

In essence: we need smart solutions to help industry and society address these issues!

Contaminations in effluent water and air are issues that cut across the industry and society. Our partners represent a variety of sectors and have complementary experiences, they also span from academia, institutes, trade organizations, start-up companies, and SMEs to multinational industries.

Heavy metals, volatile organic compounds, and nitrogen oxides are examples of substances that our programme is targeting with more effective materials and methods of separation. In addition, we are adding new “smart” functions to the materials – both at the molecular level and by embedding sensors in the material. The smart functions allow for the controlled and interactive removal of contaminants from ambient water and air in the environment and industrial effluents. Our material precursors are selected on the basis that i) they can be manufactured within Sweden, ii) Swedish researchers are in the forefront of research, and iii) they can be produced in a sustainable way.

In practical terms, it is about developing the materials from the bottom-up and validate them under both laboratory and field conditions. The latter is done within case studies where our materials are tested under realistic conditions together with partner companies to drive the research and development within this program towards real-world problems.

This report presents an overview of the Mistra TerraClean programme and the achievements and progress done during 2018. During the past year, we have moved from the start-up phase to full scale operation. With the hope of the coming year becoming as fruitful and rewarding as the past, I thank all partners and supporters of Mistra TerraClean for your contributions: expertise, funding, dedication, and the collaborative spirit that enables a transdisciplinary research programme like this advance far beyond the borders of each discipline. Not in the least, we thank Mistra for their support and the confidence put in us to advance research and innovation in the field of smart materials.