Dr. Elias Hakalehto
PhD & Adjunct Professor at University of Helsinki
CEO at Finnoflag Oy
Elias Hakalehto has a long track record of contributing to large Finnish biotech projects, and at Green Connections he will present how microbes can be used to clean up environmental damage.
Dr. Elias Hakalehto presents:
Microbes in Producing Energy and Chemicals - Novel Sustainable Business from Side Streams
Natural micro-organisms that keep up the material cycles in various ecosystems, have been studied for their metabolic capabilities from the industrial point of view. They have been traditionally used for the production of fermented foods, antibiotics, enzymes and other valuable goods. Besides, microbes offer means for manufacturing bulk, platform and specialty chemicals in a sustainable fashion, for improving health and nutrition, as well as for complementing the petrochemicals in the industries and energy production in a climate friendly way. Microbes can also be used for accomplishing various ecosystem services in cleaning up environmental damage the productive way. Consequently, any deposits, side streams, sludge or surplus could be seen as a novel resource by choosing the bioprocess approach. In order to lower the investment costs to 10-20%, the processes are designed as non-aseptic ones. Some examples presented are the processing of meat industry side streams for pharmaceutical expedients, the potato industry materials for natural cosmetics, polymers for clothes and other novel products, as well as the conversion of 100 year old forest industry overflow and deposit into bulk chemicals, organic fertilizers, biogas, hydrogen and energy. These perspectives offer views for a sustainable future, where low cost flying robot vehicles use eco-friendly energy for moving people and goods in urban or rural areas where the local production is in balance with consumption, and the materials are effectively recycled. The vision provides leads for business activities. Future biorefineries are industrial fields, where the residues of one process offer raw materials for the next one. Citizens could take part in the production of local city-food or energy, or in the circulation economy in a wider sense, having their significant share in the planetary survival project. The planned suburb of the City of Tampere in Finland, the Hiedanranta area, aims to become the most ecological urban area in the world. There microbes are in a central role in the establishment of balance with Nature.
About Dr. Elias Hakalehto
PhD Elias Hakalehto is a microbiologist and biotechnologist, and adjunct professor for the universities of Helsinki and Eastern Finland. With his company Finnoflag Oy he has conducted over 100 R&D projects for different industries. As vice president of the International Society of Environmental Indicators, he organised and chaired the 22nd global ICEI conference in Helsinki August 2017. During 2012-14 he was the principal technology provider for ABOWE Biorefinery project of six European Union Baltic Sea countries. Currently he runs the biorefinery testing and ecosystem engineering project in the city of Tampere, Finland, for converting 1.5M tons of waste deposits into useful chemicals and energy.