Project Coordinator
Dr. Stefan Dirlich
+49 351 2604413

Transfer Manager
Dr. Jonathan Engelhardt
+49 351 2604427

Sustainable solutions for fine-grained residues - FINEST

Idea behind the project

Foto: FINEST logo ©Copyright: HZDR/HIF

Industrial processes generate fine-grained residues that rarely find re-entry into industrial value chains; typically, they are disposed and become an environmental burden. Prominent examples are dusts from mineral processing, shredder fines, degraded end-of-life fibres, or micro plastic entering the natural environment. The project FINEST will process various residues and minimize hazards by designing high-value products and/or inert residues.

Foto: FINEST Approach ©Copyright: HZDR/HIF

FINEST Approach: Finding technologies for cleaning, separatio, blending and reintegration into the circular economy as for example biomass, clinker or metals.

Source: HZDR/HIF, click to enlarge

In order to do so, the FINEST project aims at creating (1) a better understanding of the physicochemical properties of fine-grained materials, (2) suitable technologies for separation, and (3) a joined investigation of individual material streams.This will provide the foundation required to select smart material blends and to develop innovative technologies. A systemic assessment accompanies these developments from the outset, so that ecologically and economically sound solutions can be identified and economic as well as ecological benefits quantified.

Relevance for society

The project has an impact numerous waste streams and material flows in which waste will be minimized while the recovery of valuable elements are kept in a loop contributing to a circular economy. Simultaneously, environmental risks are minimized through the elimination or neutralization of hazardous substances in the processing of the waste streams.

The proposed research in the FINEST consortium aims to improve at least the following four Sustainable Development Goals:

  • Health and Wellbeing
  • High-quality Education
  • Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
  • Sustainable consumption and production

The FINEST backbone

The structure of the project is based on the so-called FINEST backbone, which is responsible for coordination, transfer management, and further aspects such as data management, open science, etc.

Foto: Structure of the FINEST project ©Copyright: HZDR/HIF

Structure of the FINEST project

Source: HZDR/HIF

The FINEST Steering Committee aims at the monitoring and steering of the project progress, and comprises all PI’s involved in the project. The Committee meets regularly four times a year, and upon need and/or request.

The actual research is conducted under the umbrella of three thematic sub-projects:

  • SP1: FINEST Microplastics
  • SP2: FINEST Mineral Additives
  • SP3: FINEST Dispersed Metals

The rooftop of the project is the FINEST Research School all PhD candidates belong to. The School offers mandatory as well as voluntary courses to support the postgraduate students in their development of a career. As the entire project is intensely driven by transdisciplinarity, the education is largely dedicated to transfer aspects, and intends to equip the PhD candidates with a variety of additional expertise and knowledge in that area. Nevertheless, further offers comprise courses such as Academic Writing, Science Communication, Data Management, Open Science, etc. The school is mostly a virtual one with many of the courses being offered in form of video conferences or in hybrid format.


Foto: FINEST partners ©Copyright: HZDR/HIF

Funded by Helmholtz Association Sustainability Challenge

Foto: Helmholtz-Logo (Englisch / untereinander) ©Copyright: Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft