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Eco-innovations for the business. Specialist laboratory of comprehensive tests of natural minerals in Khmelnitsky National University

The Khmelnytskyi Oblast in Ukraine is home to one of the world’s most valuable and highly productive deposits of saponite clay, a set of compounds with excellent adsorption and purification properties that can be used in a variety of industrial and consumer applications. Estimated at 100 million tonnes, these deposits are the largest not just in Ukraine but in the entire former Soviet Union.

Khmelnytskyi National University has devoted many years to the development of innovative technologies that make use of saponite. Research and development conducted in cooperation between the university and commercial enterprises has led to the creation of numerous patented products. For many years now, the university has involved the corporate sector in joint research in the field of environmental protection. The companies involved have confirmed in recommendation letters the success of their cooperation to date, their interest in saponite and their participation in the project.

The absorption process involving saponite-based sorbent constitutes one of the most effective methods for cleaning up pollution and for resource conservation, which has given rise to real interest from both an economic and environmental point of view. Several years of work at the university led to the development of a universal sorbent granulate and of pastes and preparations based on saponite, all of which can be widely used in purification processes.

In spite of this innovative development work, however, and in spite of access to millions of tonnes of saponite deposits and the support of numerous state and scientific research institutions, the university and the enterprises cooperating with it still lack the infrastructure necessary for the implementation of the aforementioned technologies for environmental and resource conservation.

Eco-innovations for the business. Specialist laboratory of comprehensive tests of natural minerals in Khmelnitsky National University

The objective of the project was to strengthen the market position of Ukrainian companies through the implementation of innovative and environmentally beneficial technologies utilising saponite sorbent in the decontamination and reclamation of natural resources.

The project involved 30 micro- and small enterprises operating throughout Ukraine (with the exception of the Luhansk Oblast and Donetsk Oblast), including six companies from the Khmelnytskyi Oblast. The completed project activities included:

  • the opening and equipping of the Specialist Laboratory for Comprehensive Natural Mineral Research at Khmelnytskyi National University;
  • training and advisory support for the 30 above-mentioned companies;
  • pilot implementation of innovative technologies using saponite sorbents in six companies in the Khmelnytskyi Oblast; and
  • the organisation of the International Environmental Forum.

Eco-innovations for the business. Specialist laboratory of comprehensive tests of natural minerals in Khmelnitsky National University

As a result of the project:

  • six Ukrainian companies piloted innovative environmental technologies for decontamination and conservation of natural resources through the application of saponite;
  • 34 Ukrainian companies improved the know-how of their staff, who are now prepared to use various types of environmentally friendly proprietary formulations and saponite-based sorbents;
  • 34 Ukrainian companies increased their competitiveness by mastering innovative technologies that improve quality and efficiency while reducing production costs;
  • 34 Ukrainian companies established research and development cooperation with the Specialist Laboratory for Comprehensive Natural Mineral Research;
  • Khmelnytskyi National University established the Specialist Laboratory for Comprehensive Natural Mineral Research as a partner for the business sector; the lab conducts research and development for the implementation of innovative technologies for the decontamination and conservation of natural resources through the application of saponite.

The equipment used in implementation of the project serves not only the companies that participated in the project, but is also available to any company that requests its use.