Tallinn University of Technology

Finished Estonian Research Projects

Project Leader: Siim Veski

Duration: 01.01.2019-31.12.2023

Additional information in ERIS.

The climate is projected to change, with an especially high temperature rise expected for high latitudes. Terrestrial vegetation provides resources and habitat for other members of the ecosystem and any time-lags in vegetation response to climate change can potentially lead to severe losses of biodiversity. This project will use an inter-disciplinary approach combining state-of-the-art palaeoecological proxy-based reconstructions of past vegetation composition and independently determined climate dynamics with dynamic vegetation modelling, to identify the effects of natural biological processes (migration, competition) and abiotic factors (climate, nutrient availability, disturbance) in creating time-lags in vegetation dynamics during the late- and post-glacial time in Northern Europe. The results will enable us to assess the importance of individual factors and their interactions for species response to a changing climate forming a scientifically sound basis for future predictions.

Project Leader: Olle Hints

Duration: 01.01.2016-30.06.2023

Additional information in ERIS.

The natural sciences archives or bio- and georepositories are collections of protists, plants, fungi, animals and rocks, documenting the diversity and development (both in time and space) of the living and non-living nature of our planet. Collections constitute the foundation for the classification of living nature, which in turn constitutes the foundation for other branches of life sciences, and for broad-based environmental education as well. The natural sciences collections also have importance in attending to several practical issues, as monitoring environmental and climate change, analysing distribution of invasive species, organising nature conservation or studying mineral resources. Human knowledge of our environment is still rather very moderate, both globally and locally, even of our own Estonian nature. This results firstly from the singularly great diversity of living nature – the number of species in the world today is estimated to be tens of millions. Considering the habitats of species, their ecosystem, genes, extinct species etc, the amount of information grows progressively. Of this great amount of information, infinitesimally little is known. Secondly, the known is fragmented between databases, publications, natural sciences collections and other data mediums, that are hardly ever able to exchange information with one another. For that reason, no general infrastructure yet exists, which would enable the researcher, the politician, the teacher, anyone to ask both general and specific questions about the current state of surrounding ecosystems. In order to help solving these problems, NATARC is developing the central infrastructure of bio- and georepositories, consisting of repositories that correspond to international standards and of facilities needed for storing, research and databasing the collections. In addition to repositories NATARC is developing a public information system that is able to use most of the existing information about Estonian biodiversity in carrying out its analyses. This ability is essential in order to manage nature conservation problems, to monitor living nature, to discover changes of biota resulting from climate change, etc. In addition to digital information system it is important regularly to store in natural sciences collections either whole organisms or their DNA. Based on these, changes in biota can be analysed, focusing on changes of taxons, of genes or of chemical compounds. The greatest natural science collections in Estonia reside in the University of Tartu, in the Estonian University of Life Sciences, in the Tallinn University of Technology and in the Estonian Museum of Natural History. The conditions in collection repositories are very different in separate institutions and also differ by specific fields of study. The preservation of all the scientifically valuable collections in the long term is not granted. The partner institutions of NATARC are the University of Tartu, the Estonian University of Life Sciences, the Tallinn University of Technology, the Tallinn Univesity, the Environment Agency and the Estonian Museum of Natural History. This project directly associates with different international projects and infrastructures (e.g. GEO BON and EU BON, LifeWATCH, CETAF, GBIF).

Project Leader: Olle Hints

Duration: 01.07.2020-30.06.2023 

Additional information in ERIS.

DiSSCo Estonia aims at building readiness of Estonian institutions holding natural history collections and data to join the pan-European ESFRI Roadmap infrastructure "Distributed System of Scientific Collections (DiSSCo)". Responsibility of TalTech is to ensure alignment of Estonian geoscience collections and databases with European standards and contribute to the development of GeoCASe (Geosciences Collections Access Service) network and data access gateway.

Project Leader: Andres Trikkel (Department of Materials and Environmental Technology), Coordinator from the Department of Geology: Rutt Hints

Duration: 01.09.2020–31.03.2023

Additional information in ERIS.

Both rare earths and phosphorus are on the list of European critical raw materials, necessitating the discovery, exploitation and research of new resources. Estonian shelly phosphorites are the largest known phosphorite resource in Europe, containing also rare earth elements in elevated concentrations. From the perspective of phosphorite valorisation, it is critical to develop new technologies for the production of phosphoric acid and phosphorous fertilizers in order to find suitable, innovative and environmentally friendly solutions for high-quality end products. The aim of the study, based on integrated geological and mineralogical methods, modeling of geometallurgical characteristics of this resource and technological experiments, is to clarify the classification possibilities of shelly phosphorites, depending on their phosphorus and rare earths content, to interpret the distribution of such raw materials, and to analyze their potential processing technologies.

Project Leader: Rutt Hints

Duration: 01.07.2020-28.02.2023

Additional information in ERIS.

Estonian Tremadocian black shales are potential future resources of vanadium ‒ a critical raw material for novel battery technologies. The project aims to clarify genetic factors, which supported development of high vanadium enrichment in these black shales through combined geochemical, mineralogical and geological studies (including in situ mapping of V distribution with handheld XRF, organic petrography, XRF, ICP-MS, XRD, SEM-EDS, CHN element analysis, stable isotope MS), to define carrier phases and/or complexes of V, and to specify speciation of V in organometallic or/and mineral compounds using synchrotron-based x-ray spectroscopy and x-ray absorption spectroscopy. The pilot investigations on extraction of V from the black shales will be conducted as part of the project. The expected results will improve understanding on V extraction potential and support development of efficient valorization technologies for the metal.

Project Leader: Leho Ainsaar (Tartu Ülikool), Coordinator from the Department of Geology: Alvar Soesoo.

Duration: 01.07.2020-28.02.2023

Additional information in ERIS.

The aim of this project is to map the distribution of polymetal ores related to the sulphide mineralization of the Estonian basement rocks and the genesis of mineralization. The study focuses on two regions with the highest potential for polymetallic ore formation: the crystalline basement Zn-Pb sulphide mineralization on the Haljala-Uljaste area, and the geological-geochemical nature of Mn-Cu-Mo (Ag) mineralization associated with the Jõhvi Zone of magnetite quartzite. Analyzing the composition of the trace elements associated with sulfides and the properties of the fluid inclusions will determine whether the ore mineralization may be related to the hydrothermal episode of the Caledonian phase or to earlier metamorphic processes, as suggested in previous work. The work is important for the assessment of resources of technologically critical metals and their potential use in the Estonian bedrock.

Project Leader: Joonas Pärn

Duration: 01.03.2020-31.03.2022

Additional information in ERIS.

Agricultural nitrate pollution in groundwater is one of the key factors in deteriorating the status of groundwater dependent aquatic ecosystems and in the eutrophication of the Baltic Sea. However, the sources of nitrate in groundwater subsurface have not been rigorously studied in Estonia nor its natural remediation or travel times. The proposed study aims to identify the origin of nitrate and other nutrients (phosphorus) in groundwater of the nitrate vulnerable zone (NVZ) in Pandivere Upland and the processes that modify their concentrations. For this, chemical and isotopic composition of groundwater and its constituents (nitrate, sulfate), solute transport and the groundwater age distribution will be studied. The results would help to evaluate the current and future measures tackling agricultural nitrate pollution, to maintain sustainable agricultural production in the NVZ and to enhance the status of groundwater dependent ecosystems and the Baltic Sea.

Project Leader: Rein Vaikmäe

Duration: 12.02.2021-31.12.2021

Additional information in ERIS.

The main objectives of this project are to determine the origin and diagenetic evolution of brines in the deepest aquifer systems of the Baltic sedimentary basin aiming to confirm the feasibility and safety of using the brines for storing CO2, energy and radioactive waste in deep structures of the basin. One task of the project is to date brines and uncover the flow dynamics of their system on a timescale of more than a million years. The second task is to study if and to what extent subglacial meltwater from alternatingly growing and melting ice sheets has modified chemical and isotopic composition and flow dynamics of the brines during the Quaternary. A wide complex of environmental isotopes, noble gases(including 81Kr and 39Ar dating tools)and groundwater chemistry data via coupled analysis of groundwater flow numerical models will be applied. The expected results will increase public perception and faster implementation of CO2 and energy storage technology in the Baltic region.

Project Leader: Leeli Amon

Duration: 01.11.2019-31.12.2021

Additional information in ERIS.

The postglacial climate of northern Europe and northern North America has been varying. Paleo-ecological methods clarify the environmental and vegetation response to climatic changes in the past. Ongoing research provides new insights into the impact of postglacial climate fluctuations on the past hydrological conditions across Europe. Only few studies from the other side of the Atlantic, northeastern North America, address this topic. The shifts in the growing season and phenology, known signs of climate change, are rarely used as paleo-ecological indicators. The proposed project combines multiple paleo-ecological methods (compound-specific hydrogen isotope analyses for the hydrological changes; micro-phenology of subfossil leaves for vegetation timing and seasonality patterns; sedimentary organic carbon isotopes for the carbon cycling) from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean to reveal the effects of postglacial warming episodes on the environment, hydrology and vegetation.

Project Leader: Atko Heinsalu

Duration: 01.01.2019-31.12.2021 

Additional information in ERIS.

Project Leader: Olga Lisitsyna

Duration: 01.12.2019-30.11.2021

Additional information in ERIS.

The climate and land use changes are considered as one of the main threats to global ecosystems functioning today. Studies of past land-cover help to predict the responses of the ecosystems to climate and human-induced changes in the future. Pollen-based reconstructions are the most reliable sources of information on past vegetation composition and land use. The project aims to reconstruct vegetation and land use dynamics during the last millennium in a particularly sensitive, but poorly studied, area at a border between boreal and tundra biomes, in north-eastern Europe, using a novel pollen based land cover reconstruction methodology. The project will produce an unique set of region specific relative pollen productivity estimates and past vegetation and land use dynamics reconstruction of the area. Both outcomes will be essential inputs to number of regional and global scale investigations dealing with climate-vegetation-landuse interactions.

Project Leader: Triin Reitalu

Duration: 01.01.2016−31.12.2020

Additional information in ERIS.

Understanding the development of past diversity is crucial for predicting future biodiversity changes. Sedimentary plant remains (pollen and macrofossils) provide a valuable source of information about past vegetation. However, reconstructions of palaeo vegetation seldom consider the different aspects biodiversity. In particular, there is a lack of studies that focus on the reconstruction of past changes in functional diversity (diversity of species' functional properties) or phylogenetic diversity (diversity of evolutionary lineages). The present project will use a modern analogue approach to evaluate the potential of sediment pollen and macrofossils for estimating functional and phylogenetic diversity. Diversity estimates that are significantly associated with modern vegetation diversity will be used to reconstruct vegetation diversity over past millennia, at regional and local scales, and to study the associations between temporal changes in diversity, climate and human impact. 

Project Leader: Rein Vaikmäe

Duration: 01.01.2014−31.12.2019

Additional information in ERIS.

A 3D numerical model for the Baltic Artesian Basin (BAB) for the last glaciation (~120 ka) will be developed. Model will include 3D groundwater flow, heat transport, solute transport, residence time, life expectancy, transit time, density dependent flow, crustal flexure, glacial loading and permafrost evolution. The model can be used to test different hypothesis in regard to groundwater recharge during glaciation period and basin fluid flow dynamic. We shall merge hydrogeochemical data and numerical models to better understand the link between glaciations and groundwater flow systems. The model will be tested against different groundwater geochemical data. The tracer analysis includes 39Ar, 85Kr and 81Kr that allow the estimation of groundwater residence time up to 1000 ka. Analyses of stable noble gases (He, Ne, Ar, Kr, Xe) and their main isotopes enable to study the special excess air signatures that are expected in the BAB subglacially recharged groundwater.

Project Leader: Yan Liang

Duration: 01.09.2017−31.08.2019

Additional information in ERIS.

Chitinozoans are organic-walled microfossils common and diverse in Early Paleozoic marine sediments. They have important role in stratigraphy and enable studying evolution and biogeographical distribution of the cryptic chitinozoan animals. Baltoscandia is a key area for chitinozoan research and the largest collections come from this region. However, the emergence and early diversification of chitinozoans on Baltica is poorly known and their full biostratigraphic potential in pre-Darriwilian strata is yet to be shown. This project aims to fill this gap by the systematic study of existing unpublished collections at the hosting institution and collecting new material from Baltoscandian sections. Contemporaneous material from South China will be used for deciphering biogeographic links and testing biostratigraphic utility. The project will provide new insights into the early diversification of chitinozoans and improve the understanding of the Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event.

Project Leader: Siim Veski

Duration: 01.01.2013−31.12.2018

Additional information in ERIS.

The proposed project aims at reconstruction of ecosystems, climate and environment change, both natural and man-made, at high temporal resolution in Estonia and neighbouring areas (Latvia, Lithuania, NW Russia and the Baltic Sea) during the last 15,000 yr through a multidisciplinary and multiproxy study of natural archives such as lake, bog and marine sediments. The study provides high-resolution paleodata using analytical methods such as pollen, diatoms, cladocerans, chironomids and sediment geochemistry to produce new quantitative pollen-inferred paleoclimatic, landscape, biodiversity and land-use reconstructions, aquatic subfossil-derived past lake water variables and to establish a connection between past lake water environment, climate and man-made changes. The inference models on natural vegetation development, human impact, and Baltic Sea history will provide better and more realistic quantitative estimates for reconstructing post-glacial climatic variability and environmental changes.

Project Leader: Tõnu Martma

Duration: 01.01.2015−31.12.2018

Additional information in ERIS.

The Early Paleozoic (540–420 My ago) witnessed hallmark evolutionary events, extinctions and major perturbations in climate and environments, associated with profound changes in biogeochemical cycling of C, S, O and N. Stable isotopes of these elements provide unparalleled proxy indicators for identifying and understanding such events. In this project we focus on carbon isotopic composition of organic matter (δ13Corg) for which only limited data are available worldwide. Using Early Paleozoic Baltic basin as model area, we create high-resolution paired organic and carbonate carbon reference isotope curve. Complemented with other isotope systems, lipid biomarkers and data on fossil record, this will allow reconstructing changes in biological isotope fractionation, bioproductivity and nutrient cycling, ocean redox conditions and composition of the atmosphere, providing new insights into the complex and yet poorly known linking mechanisms between the biosphere and ocean–atmosphere system.

Project Leader: Leeli Amon

Duration: 01.09.2017−31.10.2018

Additional information in ERIS.

Late-glacial period in the Baltic region (~14500 – 11700 years ago) was defined by rapid and remarkable paleoclimatic changes and thus the paleoecological records offer a good possibility to observe the environmental reaction to the climatic fluctuations. The main research topics were the dynamics of the Late-glacial spring onset and length of the growing season but also changes in paleo-hydrology and past atmospheric CO2 concentration. The questions were addressed using combination of the well-established (plant macrofossil analysis), relatively new (compound-specific hydrogen isotope analysis of the sediments) and developing (micro-phenology of the subfossil dwarf birch leaves) methods. The results shed light to previously unknown aspects of the past environmental conditions and feedbacks with the climate oscillations, i.e. the responses of the spring onset to the Late-glacial climatic oscillations, growing season length and complicated seasonality patterns during the Younger Dryas (GS-1) cold reversal. The first insight to the Baltic region paleo-hydrology based on the dynamics of the compound-specific δD measurements in the sediments from N Estonia and E Latvia illustrate the notable effect of the proximity of the glacier to the past hydrology. The results have been presented in conferences and two manuscripts are in progress.

Project Leader: Valle Raidla

Duration: 01.06.2017−31.05.2018

Additional information in ERIS.

Estonian Cm-V groundwater originates from Scandinavian ice-sheet and any information on this water helps us understand glaciohydrologic and paleoclimatic processes. The groundwaters also contain elevated concentrations of natural radionuclides (Rn and Ra). So far, Ra has not been studied sufficiently in Estonia. Previous research has mainly focused spatial and vertical distribution of Ra in groundwaters. The studies have ignored the fact that Ra is chemically active and interpretations on the origin of Ra have been based on the assumption that Ra is a chemically inert element. This study will pay more attention to the origin of radionuclides, water-rock interaction and on modelling the chemical behavior of radionuclides in the Cm-V aquifer system. The project will also try to clarify the possibility of using Ra as a geochemical marker to research the origin and geochemical evolution of Cm-V groundwaters.

Project Leader: Peep Männik

Duration: 01.01.2014−31.12.2017

Additional information in ERIS.

In Late Ordovician dramatic environmental perturbations causing distinct changes in faunal and sedimentary successions occurred. Some of them resulted from global others from regional processes. The main aim of the project is to reconstruct the pre-Hirnantian Late Ordovician environmental history of Baltoscandia and its correlation to regional and global processes. We suggest that the climatic history in the region was much more complicated than what is evident from the general cooling trend through the Ordovician. Also, we propose that not all facies, sea-level and faunal changes inferred from the sedimentary succession were climatically induced. Several of them resulted from regional tectonics and/or from the autocyclic processes of sedimentation. To test above hypotheses we plan (1) to study d18O from conodont apatite; (2) to analyze distribution of faunas (conodonts and chitinozoans) and biodiversity changes in time and space; (3) to study changes in sedimentary succession.

Project Leader: Valle Raidla

Duration: 01.06.2015−31.05.2017

Additional information in ERIS.

The aim of the project was to clarify the spread of palaeogroundwaters in the Cm-V and O-Cm aquifer systems in Estonia, to date their infiltration time and to reconstruct their recharge conditions. For that, conservative tracers such as stable isotopes (18O and 2H) and dissolved noble gases in groundwaters as well as radiocarbon were used. The 18O measurements show much wider paleogroundwater spreading in the O-Cm aquifer than expected earlier. As the collected 14C data indicates, the bulk of O-Cm groundwater originates from the transgression period of continental ice sheets in Pleistocene when the glacier with a high hydraulic gradient in the discharge area of the aquifers reversed the groundwater flow. Earlier studies show that the Cm-V groundwaters in North Estonia exhibit enormous amounts of excess air. Groundwater originating from supraglacial rather than subglacial melting could explain the unusual gas composition and high gas content in the Cm-V groundwaters. This supposition allows to assume that under the glacier there was a significant amount of meltwater that formed a sub- and englacial channel system whose water level had daily and seasonal fluctuations, during which a lot of air was entrapped in the channels. Depending on the pressure, all or part of the entrapped gas dissolved into the subglacial water. The methane content in the north-western part of Cm-V aquifer system is rather low (up to 1%) but considerably higher (1 to 50%) in its north-eastern part. Although isotope data are indicative of both biogenic and thermogenic methane, it is rather possible that much of the isotopically enriched methane has been modified by oxidation processes. The origin of methane directly from glacial ice is unlikely. It is possible that methane formed in a wetland (bog) in the depression of the Gulf of Finland before the glaciation. During the infiltration of glacial meltwater into the aquifer system, the accumulated methane was carried to the aquifer system.

Project Leader: Anneli Poska

Duration: 01.01.2012−30.04.2016

Additional information in ERIS.

Climate warming in combination with anthropogenic changes in land cover is considered to be one of the major threats to global biodiversity. Studies of the responses of past land-cover composition and land-cover diversity in relation to changes in climate and land-use that concentrate at mechanisms of land-cover maintenance and change through time and space are especially valuable for helping to predict the response of vegetation to future climate variability and changing land-use. To study the effects of past climate change on vegetation composition during the Holocene and to clarify the temporal and spatial development, extent and intensity of land-use and its impact on biodiversity in South Estonia and North Latvia the quantitative reconstructions of changes in terrestrial land-cover over the Holocene will be generated based on changes in pollen spectra preserved in lake sediments. The dynamics of pollen inferred land-cover changes and vegetation diversity will be linked to the changes in agrarian land-use and climate. The regional vegetation maps will be reconstructed based on quantitative estimations of past vegetation for six time-slices (10K, 8K, 6K, 4K, 2K and present day). The local scale vegetation maps will be produced for the above listed time-slices and for five additional time-slices during the last millennium (AD 1000, AD 1200, AD 1400, AD 1600 and AD 1800). The spatial reconstructions will be validated using the available historical records. The results will be used to validate and calibrate the representativeness of the global dynamic vegetation and land-use models for the investigation area.

Finished European Projects

Project Leader: Michael Hitch

Duration: 01.11.2019-31.10.2023

Additional information in ERIS.

The project will set up an international platform on responsible sourcing (RS) that: 1. facilitates the development of a globally accepted definition of RS, 2. develops ideas for incentives facilitating responsible business conduct in the EU, supporting RS initiatives, 3. enables exchange of stakeholders for information exchange and promotion, 4. fosters the emergence of RS in international political fora, and 5. supports the European Innovation Partnership on Raw Materials. To achieve the above mentioned objectives, the platform will connect experts and stakeholders by means of a physical element (“Platform Spaces”) and digital element (“Digital Ground”): The Platform Spaces will allow practitioners (i) to gain a hands-on and peer-to-peer learning experience in workshops and site visits to exchange and learn from enabling factors, instruments and tools facilitating RS initiatives and business conduct for practitioners, and (ii) to engage with stakeholders at international conferences to further the concept of RS on the global political agenda. The Digital Ground will (i) enable, through innovative digital tools such as digital conference spaces and webinars, more easily connect international players and engage them in networking, promotion and information exchange activities, and (ii) synthesise and make easily accessible ideas that incentivise RS initiatives and responsible business conduct. The proposed project will feature important Flagship Cases of mature and well-established RS initiatives for raw materials highly relevant for Europe’s future energy, mobility and infrastructure development. By engaging international experts and stakeholders via the digital and physical platform element, the project team will be able to engage these initiatives into mutual learning processes on success elements and challenges encountered, and to identify enabling factors that will help recently established and upcoming RS initiatives to become success stories.

Project Leader: Michael Hitch

Duration: 01.11.2020-31.10.2023

Additional information in ERIS.

In order to foster more, but sustainable mineral production in the EU, SUMEX (SUstainable Management in EXtractive industries) will establish a sustainability framework for the extractive industry in Europe. It does so by considering the Sustainable Development Goals, the European Green Deal, as well as EU Social License to Operate considerations and will involve stakeholders from industry, government, academia and civil society backgrounds from all across the EU. This framework is then applied across the extractive value chain to analyse the mineral, as well as relevant economic, environmental and social policy frameworks of the EU, member states and selected regions along five focus areas - socioeconomic and environmental impact assessments, land use planning, health and safety, reporting official statistics and permitting processes/policy integration-to find, or build, where needed, good practices or tools for an open access toolkit, which will be embedded in a broader Community of Practise (CoP) and which forms the basis for capacity building. This CoP will consider relevant stakeholder groups, with a focus on permitting authorities, across the EU, providing a digital platform and using a series of workshops and webinars. In SUMEX, the experience from other projects like MINGUIDE, MINLAND, MIREU, STRADE builds a powerful foundation for addressing the challenge of how best to implement sustainability considerations into the whole raw materials value chain. What makes SUMEX stand out, is that a) it involves Andalusia as a regional partner to act as 1) a test case and 2) to involve other regions, i.e. those represented in MIREU and the OECD Mining Regions and Cities Initiative, to participate in SUMEX; as well as having access to the informal network of mining authorities and b) by employing two practical use cases, involving industry partners, for two important and completely different raw material groups – construction and battery materials.

Project Leader: Kazbulat Šogenov

Duration: 01.09.2020-31.08.2023

Additional information in ERIS.

Many natural resources are and need to be used in a smarter, more sustainable way. The European Commission’s Circular Economy Action Plan sets many ways on how to “close the loop” of product lifecycles. Extractive industry is the industry where large volumes of waste are generated. This includes not only solid waste from mine extraction but also liquid waste in oil&gas industry and gaseous waste (e.g., greenhouse gas emissions from mines). The Circular economy act published by EU puts a major emphasis on finding new, innovative means to move away from a 'take-make-dispose' culture and to develop new methods, technologies and also approaches to recycle and re-use products. In this context extractive industry and higher education programmes related to it such as: mining, mineral engineering, raw materials, applied earth sciences need to put an emphasis on this context and include this concept in the existing curricula and/or create new study programmes or short courses that will include circular economy approach. The objective of this proposal is to create a strategic partnerships between Universities and companies developing a comprehensive training platform that will help to modify existing study programmes related to extractive industry also knowledge of proper waste management incorporating circular economy approach. The programme will aim to strengthen the strategic and structured cooperation between higher education institutions through: a) support for various types of cooperation models, including the most ambitious ones such as the European Universities; b) contributing to remove obstacles to mobility by implementing automatic mutual recognition of qualifications and learning outcomes, and by embedding mobility in curricula; c) support for higher education institutions to implement the Bologna principles and tools to enhance mobility for all and to develop a successful multilingual European Education Area by 2025.

Project Leader: Alla Šogenova

Duration: 01.01.2021-30.06.2023

Additional information in ERIS.

Renewable hydrogen combined with large scale underground storage enables transportation of energy through time, balancing out the impacts of variable renewable energy production. While storing pure hydrogen in salt caverns has been practiced since the 1970s in Europe, it has never been carried out anywhere in depleted fields or aquifers. Technical developments are needed to validate these two solutions. As subsurface technical feasibility studies for a future hydrogen storage in depleted field or aquifer will be site-specific, as for other geology related activities, HyStories will provide developments applicable to a wide range of possible future sites: the addition of H2-storage relevant characteristics in reservoir databases at European scale; reservoir and geochemical modelling for cases representative of European subsurface, and tests of this representativeness by comparing it with results obtained with real storage sites models; and lastly an extensive sampling and microbiological lab experiment programme to cover a variety of possible conditions.

Complementarily, techno-economic feasibility studies will provide insights into underground hydrogen storage for decision makers in government and industry. Modelling of the European energy system will first define the demand for hydrogen storage. Environmental and Societal impact studies will be developed. For a given location and hydrogen storage demand, a high-level cost assessment for development of each of the competing geological storage options at that location will be estimated, and the sites will be ranked based on techno-economic criteria developed within the project. Finally, several case studies will enable consideration of the implementation of potential projects, notably by considering their economic interest.

This will provide substantial insight into the suitability for implementing such storage across EU and enable the proposition of an implementation plan.

cleanker logo

Project Leader: Alla Šogenova

Duration: 01.10.2017-31.03.2023

Additional information in ERIS.

The cement industry is a key-sector for the reduction of CO2 emissions. Cement production is responsible for about 27% of global anthropogenic CO2 emissions from industrial sources worldwide. The focus of CLEANKER is demonstrating the feasibility of the integrated Ca-Looping process at industrial scale in a new demo system treating 4.000 m3/h of flue gas emitted by the Buzzi Unicem cement plant in Vernasca (Piacenza, Italy). Project is coordinated by L.E.A.P. (Laboratory for Energy and Environment) from Italy. Project consortium is composed from 13 partners from 7 countries including two departments from Tallinn University of Technology (Department of Geology and Department of Materials and Environmental Technology: Laboratory of Inorganic Materials). TTÜ is a coordinator of the Work Package 7 (Transport, utilization and storage study) including 7 tasks and 7 deliverables. Among these tasks are: Techno-economic modelling of selected local and regional CCUS scenarios for Vernasca, Kunda and Slantsy cement plants (TTÜ-GI); Lab-scale experiments on waste oils shale ash and CDW carbonation and recommendations for the design of the mineralization reactor in Vernasca (TTÜ-MK); Producing of concrete using waste materials from cement plants and CaLooped CO2 trapped in the Vernasca demo system will be finaly demostrated in the project.

Other participants from the Department of Geology: Kazbulat Šogenov and Jüri Ivask

Project Leader: Veiko Karu

Duration: 01.04.2019-31.08.2022

Additional information in ERIS.

EIT Raw Materials vision is to realising the turnaround: To develop raw materials into a major strength for Europe. EIT Raw Materials mission is to boost the competiveness, growth and attractiveness of the European raw materials sector via radical innovation and entrepreneurship. EIT RawMaterials is the best breeding ground for: talents, education, capital, ideas, start-ups, products and services for the raw materials market. The EIT Raw Materials consortium is the strongest that has ever been built in the field of raw materials. Since 01.01.2018 Tallinn University of Technology is Core Partner of the EIT Raw Materials.

Project Leader: Michael Hitch

Duration: 01.01.2020-31.12.2021

Additional information in ERIS.

Mining by its very nature disturbs the land and has a significant influence on what the post-mining landscape and land use becomes. Traditional reclamation practices have been, in the case of formally rehabilitated sites, to return the land to as much of an original condition as possible. In cases of abandoned or mine sites that received minimal or no formal rehabilitation efforts, this becomes more problematic. The locally affected community has the closest attachment to these landscapes and it is their best interest to be part of the decision-making process; one that considers the social, economic and biophysical implications of any closure and rehabilitation plan. For example, the local community may want to retain some of the man-made aspects of the mine site (e.g. pits or waste dumps) for their aesthetic or recreational value and to promote tourism as secondary land use. The key is the active participation and the extension of the Social Licence to Operate through mine closure and site rehabilitation and for them to play an active role in the ultimate post-mining landscape and land use.

Project Leader: Michael Hitch

Duration: 01.01.2019-31.12.2021 

Additional information in ERIS.

MiReBooks is a new digital learning experience that will change the way we teach, learn and subsequently apply mining. By taking traditional paper based education material and enriching it with virtual and augmented reality based experiences (Mixed Reality) teachers can now convey and students now experience phenomena in the classroom that are usually not easily accessible in the real world. Complex issues of mining are no longer a challenging barrier for learning progress and students complete their studies with a more thorough comprehension of their discipline. Through thought through pedagogic inclusion in teaching plans students will be able to take advantage of new ways of participation that are suitable for the needs of their generation. With MiReBooks the way of teaching will change as instructors will be able engage their students in a more effective way and offer them an enriched content repertoire as well as a hightened comprehension opportunity. The array of possible industrial mine environment examples that students can be immersed into becomes endless and thus the industry will receive graduates that are familiarized in-depth with a holistic view on the industrial context. Students will enter the job market skilled as digital natives and highly influence the way the industry will work and develop in this way in the future. Mixed Reality is certainly a most promising way to enable users to make the most of their learning experience and thus leverage the improvement of operational efficiencies and innovation. The tool is hence also attractive for industry application in professional training to bring existing employees up to speed with the latest standards. MiReBooks will be the lubricant of change and innovation in the mining sector in terms of society and environment, safe and healthy working conditions and mining processes and equipment.

Bsuin

BSUIN

The Baltic Underground Laboratory Innovation Network (BSUIN) project is funded by the INTERREG Baltic Sea Program. The duration of the project is 36 months - from October 2017 to September 2020. The total budget of the project is 3.4 million euros and the project consortium consists of 14 partners from 8 countries.

The aim of the project is to develop the underground laboratory (UL) services in the Baltic Sea region so that potential developers can use the existing and new opportunities of UL for business development. The project involves 6 underground laboratories in the Baltic Sea region. In addition to scientific research, underground laboratories can provide a unique environment for different companies, such as technology for developing mining and tunneling equipment or radiation protection systems, or testing geophysics, radiation detection and other measuring instruments. ULs can also be production sites, a new and growing field, especially in the production of heat or to facilitate the production of food.

TUT participates in characterisation of the existing possibilities of ULs and development of underground environmental conditions. BSUIN's leading partner is the University of Oulu from Finland. From the Department of Geology, Andrus Paat and Veiko Karu participate in the project.

Project information.

Project Leader: Alla Shogenova

Duration: 01.09.2016-31.08.2020

Additional information in ERIS.

To meet the ambitious EC target of an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, CO2 Capture and Storage (CCS) needs to move rapidly towards full scale implementation with geological storage solutions both on and offshore. Onshore storage offers increased flexibility and reduced infrastructure and monitoring costs. Enabling onshore storage will support management of decarbonisation strategies at territory level while enhancing security of energy supply and local economic activities, and securing jobs across Europe. However, successful onshore storage also requires some unique technical and societal challenges to be overcome. ENOS will provide crucial advances to help foster onshore CO2 storage across Europe through: 1) Developing, testing and demonstrating in the field, under “real-life conditions”, key technologies specifically adapted to onshore storage. 2) Contributing to the creation of a favourable environment for onshore storage across Europe. The ENOS site portfolio will provide a great opportunity for demonstration of technologies for safe and environmentally sound storage at relevant scale. Best practices will be developed using experience gained from the field experiments with the participation of local stakeholders and the lay public. This will produce improved integrated research outcomes and increase stakeholder understanding and confidence in CO2 storage. In this improved framework, ENOS will catalyse new onshore pilot and demonstration projects in new locations and geological settings across Europe, taking into account the site-specific and local socioeconomic context. By developing technologies from TRL4/5 to TRL6 across the storage lifecycle, feeding the resultant knowledge and experience into training and education and cooperating at the pan-European and global level, ENOS will have a decisive impact on innovation and build the confidence needed for enabling onshore CO2 storage in Europe. TTU GI participates (as a linked /to Co2GeoNet/ third party) in the following Work Packages (WP): WP5 (Coordination with local communities) -WP6 (International cooperation & seeding pilots and demos in Europe) WP7 (Spreading innovation), being responsible for task 7.3.3 (Promoting Utilisation of ENOS results) and WP8 (Promoting CCS through Training and education).

Project Leader: Rein Vaikmäe

Duration: 01.01.2012−31.12.2021

Additional information in ERIS.

Estimation of groundwater age through the combined use of isotope methods and groundwater flow modelling will be used for developing the knowledge on the genesis and dynamics of groundwater and brines in deep aquifers over the Baltic Artesian Basin. Stable oxygen and hydrogen isotopes as well as Carbon-14 and tritium analyses will be used for areas not studied previously by isotopic methods. The main focus of this project, however, will be application of the recently available long-lived radionuclides, isotope age tracers and noble gases (Krypton-81, Chlorine-36, Helium-4, etc…), coupled with groundwater flow modelling to better understand and assess deep groundwater systems as long-term source of water supply. As the baseline knowledge for this project we'll use the results of our earlier research including the recent results of the first application of Krypton -81 datings in the BAB area (Gerber et al 2016 submitted to G&CA). To our knowledge, this was the first groundwater study with Kr-81 activities below the detection limit of currently 2% of the atmospheric Kr-81/Kr ratio. Combination of chemical and stable isotope composition of the brine, noble gas concentrations and dating results favours evaporative enrichment of seawater However some uncertainties about the brine formation processes remained as this study was based on the data of only seven deep wells! Those open questions would be answered in the course of current proposed project. A number of new deep wells in southern part of the BAB (in Lithuania) and Eastern part of the BAB (in Russia) will be included in this project.

Project Leader: Alla Šogenova

Duration: 01.01.2012−31.12.2021

Additional information in ERIS.

The Newsletter of the ENeRG Network production, edition and distribution to the network members and policy makers (European Commission, etc). Production and distribution of the ENeRG Position Papers (2012-2017). Management of the ENeRG Network website (2018-2021).

Project Leader: Alla Šogenova

Duration: 01.09.2020-31.10.2021

Additional information in ERIS.

The objective of the RouteCCS project is to strengthen networking on tackling climate change through technology such as Carbon Capture, Use and Storage (CCUS) in the Baltic Sea Region (BSR) between stakeholders such as authorities, companies, universities and experts in order to facilitate deployment of a large-scale CCUS project. Full-scale CCUS projects play a vital role in meeting the objectives of the Paris Agreement and in mitigating climate change. The outcome of the project will be a review and update of the current situation in the BSR countries concerning the whole chain of CCUS including regulations, the detailed plan for the steps after the seed money project, and a list of the most potential funding sources.

Finished Applied Projects

Project Leader: Erik Väli

Duration: 01.12.2021-31.05.2023.

Additional information in ERIS.

The aim of this project is to prepare technical data for wetseparating Estonian mineral resources and to optimize the operating mode for the separating device.

Final Report (in Estonian)

Project Leader: Olle Hints

Duration: 01.10.2020-31.05.2021.

Project Leader: Erik Väli

Duration: 01.09.2019-21.06.2021

Additional information in ERIS.

The goals of the study were aimed at solving problems related to oil shale valorisation and circular economic use.
The study carried out by the researchers of the Division of Mining and Mineral Technology of the Department of Geology describes a new technological solution for underground beneficiation of oil shale extracted in Estonian mines. The researchers developed a solution for wet sedimentation of oil shale in equipment with a pulsating water jet. In addition, other potential beneficiation technologies were also modelled and analysed. The technology that proved to be the most optimal was tested on the wet sedimentation test equipment of the Aachen Mountain Academy in Germany.
Underground beneficiation allows for the storage of residues from the process in the mined area, which reduces the impact of possible collapses on the ground.

Final Report (in Estonian)

Project Leader: Sander Kanter

Duration: 01.09.2019-30.09.2020

Additional information in ERIS.

In the course of the project, the possibilities of using fine carbonate rock particles as cement raw material were investigated.

In the production of crushed stone, up to 30% of fine fraction (fr. 0/4 mm) is formed, which is washed to produce lime sand. As a result of this process, up to 90% of the extracted mineral resources can be used. The remaining 10% is made up of residues from the washing process (fine particles fr. 0 / 0.063 mm), which have not been used to their full potential.

In the course of this study, 20 limestone and dolostone deposits were selected, and a total of 60 samples were taken from the fine fraction. The granular composition of the samples was determined by sieving and the chemical composition of the washed fines was determined by XRF. Based on these results, 6 samples were selected that were heated to 1450 ° C to test for clinker mineral formation. As the result, the necessary clinker minerals alite and belite were formed.

As a result of the experiments, it was determined that based on the chemical composition, the most suitable deposits as cement raw material are Väo, Harku, Pajusi, Vasalemma and Kunda. Unfortunately, none of the samples was directly suitable as a high-quality cement raw material, and the washed fine particles are suitable as one component, to which either limestone or clay needs to be added, depending on the composition.

Final Report (in Estonian)

Project Leader: Mall Orru

Duration: 15.06.2018-15.06.2020

Additional information in ERIS.

Digitization of handwritten reports of peat studies and database creation to ensure the availability of data to all stakeholders (miners, economists, environmentalists, developers of development plans).

Project Leader: Kristjan Urtson

Duration: 15.03.2019-15.10.2019

Additional information in ERIS.

A computational method was developed for converting old grain size distribution data of sand and gravel resources to meet the new regulations for geological exploration.

Project Leader: Mall Orru

Duration: 01.06.2016-03.06.2018

Additional information in ERIS.

The aim of the work was to compile a database available to the public on the basis of the data collected during the peat survey, so that it would be compatible with the data collected during geological mapping and the list of deposits in the environmental register.

1. Collection and digitization of data from previous research (general technical parameters of peat: botanical composition, ash content, moisture, pH, harmful elements, calorific value, etc.).

2. Digitization and georeferencing of peatland (140) plans.

3. Determination of coordinates and absolute heights of peat sampling points based on digitized spatial data (using ArcGIS program).

4. Preparation of short overviews of peat deposits (peat genesis, properties, characterization of stocks, perspective uses and their connection with the data in databases). The basic data of the project has been collected by the Estonian Geological Survey and is stored in the Geological Archive.

The database has been created for public use and is available at: https://turba.geoloogia.info

Final Report (in Estonian)

Project Leader: Maris Rattas

Duration:  01.07.2021-31.12.2021

The teaching aids purchased for the Särghaua Earth Science Centre (grinding wheels for two types of machines) allow the Rocks and Minerals workshop for schoolchildren to continue operating.

Project Leader: Olle Hints

Duration 01.09.2016-

Additional information in ERIS.

The general goal of the project is to establish an interactive exhibition in TalTech Särghaua Earth Science Centre open to both groups and individual visitors and supporting study programs to introduce Estonian geology and inanimate nature.

Phase 2 of the project is planned for the thematic and physical expansion of the exposition to the outdoor study area and other premises of the study centre.

Project Leader: Jüri Vassiljev

Duration: 01.10.2016-03.06.2018

Additional information in ERIS.

The aim of the project was to collect data from previous surveys on landslides, measure and map landslides in fieldwork, model ground subsidence and landslides using GIS software using the Land Board's LIDAR data, show its use in the assessment of subsidence and landslides and provide assessments and recommendations for underground. The project has resulted in electronic map layers in Mapinfo (.TAB) and ArcGIS (.SHP) formats, reflecting subsidence of mined areas, local landslides and potential future dangerous landslides in the form of closed mining surfs, which have often been closed in poor quality in the past. The results of the project are an input in the planning of construction activities and land use, in the preparation of regional development plans and in the management of landslides and subsidence.

Final Report (in Estonian)

Maps

Project Leader: Joonas Pärn

Duration: 01.01.2016-01.12.2017

Additional information in ERIS.

In the course of the study, the surface and groundwater levels, flow rates and chemical composition of surface and groundwater in the technogenic area of the Maardu phosphorite spread were monitored for one year (2016-2017). In addition, sounding works were carried out to measure the depth, bed shape and bottom relief of the Maardu quarry lakes and to assess the volume of water in the lakes. The main trajectories of surface water run through the outflows of the Maardu northern quarry and the Maardu mine towards the Kroodi stream and from the southern quarry of Maardu to the passages of the Maardu mine. The chemical composition of surface water and groundwater in the Maardu phosphorite spreading area shows that low-temperature pyridine oxidation, which affected water chemistry during and immediately after active mining, and related processes are still active. higher concentrations of heavy metals.

Final Report (in Estonian)

Project Leader: Tõnu Tomberg

Duration: 01.01.2016-18.11.2017

Additional information in ERIS.

The aim of the project was to carry out a general study of microseismic ground vibrations associated with blasting. In the course of the study, the parameters of blasting operations during blasting of various objects and their connection with the environmental impact assessment parameters were analyzed and generalized. During the fieldwork, the intensity of the seismic effect of the blasting works was measured in 14 different limestone quarries across Estonia. The main measurable value was the oscillation velocity, which is the main parameter for assessing damage. The result of the study is an equation based on empirical data for predicting the main parameter of the intensity of the seismic effect of blasting work - oscillation speed in Estonian limestone quarries. Based on the equation, a calculation methodology was developed to determine seismically safe charge quantities.

Final Report (in Estonian)

Project Leader: Siim Pajusaar

Duration: 01.01.2016-18.11.2017

Additional information in ERIS.

The project aims to raise public awareness of mining through interactive game.

Project Leader: Erik Väli

Duration: 01.03.2016-18.11.2017

Additional information in ERIS.

The results of this project contribute to the use of backfilling technology in oil shale mining conditions.

Final Report (in Estonian)

Project Leader: Sigrid Hade

Duration: 01.06.2015-18.05.2017

Additional information in ERIS.

Based on geochemical analyzes and GIS methods, the environmental impact of heavy metals and other chemical elements found in graptolite argillite has been modeled depending on the population density and geological peculiarities of the area in Northern and North-Eastern Estonia. An experiment has been performed in the laboratory to investigate the leaching of graptolite argillite. The content of metals and other elements in the leaching products was analyzed both qualitatively and quantitatively. The obtained results were used to evaluate the environmental hazard potential of the metals contained in graptolite argillite over time.

Final Report (in Estonian)
Analyses

Project Leader: Olle Hints

Duration: 01.01.2016-31.03.2017

Additional information in ERIS.

The general goal of the project is to establish an interactive exhibition in TalTech Särghaua Earth Science Centre open to both groups and individual visitors and supporting study programs to introduce Estonian geology and inanimate nature.