Project READY4USE developing solutions for sediment use

Maribor, 4 October - DEM, the company operating hydroelectric power stations on the Drava river, which is the largest producer of electricity from renewable sources in Slovenia, has completed, in cooperation with partners, a three-year project to evaluate and remediate sediments for further use in the construction sector.

Co-financed by the national science and innovation agency, the project READY4USE was completed together with the National Building and Civil Engineering Institute and the Ljubljana Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology, the Maribor-based DEM said in a press release.

Faced with the challenge of sedimentation in the Drava, the energy company launched the project to find sustainable solutions for dealing with the accumulated sediments.

Through developing and testing new processes for removing heavy metals from sediments, the project partners have developed building materials based on the use of these sediments.

The most important contribution of the project is the development of innovative processes for sediment remediation using environmentally friendly surface active compounds and the creation of optimal mixtures for the production of bricks and alkali-activated materials, which are also used in construction.

The solutions will benefit not only hydro power plant operators in Slovenia, but operators worldwide, DEM said. In addition, the project analysed the environmental aspects of all the relevant processes and products using life cycle analyses, which contributed to the interdisciplinarity of the project and enabled the sustainable management of sediments.

"The project is important because it addressed the challenge of sedimentation, which affects the safety of hydro power plants, the generation of electricity, the ability to retain high waters, the supply of water for irrigation and the maintenance of the ecological potential of reservoirs," DEM director general Damjan Seme said.