Group members

Hi, my name is Risto Koivula and I have worked with ion exchangers since my graduation on radiochemistry in 1996 (M.Sc.). My first project concerned the removal of heavy metals from metal plating industry (Brite Euram EU-project 96-99) where chelating ion exchangers were used mainly as end-of-pipe polishing materials. Since then my focus has been on inorganic ion exchange materials. I got my PhD. (2003) from the selective removal of activated corrosion products from nuclear power plant waste waters utilizing highly selective metal oxides. The following years has been filled with different projects and innovations in the area of selective separations, working mainly with inorganic materials in association with nuclear and mining industry.

Over two decades work in the ion exchange group has deepened my knowledge and interest on the selective separations and educated me from the junior researcher into the group leader (2016) that I now am. This position allows me to seek out new materials and methods for selective separations and boldly use them in applications where they haven’t been used before.

 

Background and education

I graduated from the Department of Chemistry (Analytical chemist), University of Helsinki, in 2008. I have worked as chemist/researcher in the indoor air investigations and as chemist in the field of cosmetic product development. I finished my D. Sc. (Green Chemical Technology) at Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT) in November 2014. The subject of my doctoral thesis was modified nano- and micro cellulose based adsorption materials in water treatment. I have continued research on the same topic in Laboratory of Green Chemistry, LUT, Mikkeli.

Current work

I started work as post doctoral researcher in Radiochemistry at June 2017. My research focuses on arsenic removal form water solution by nanocellulose based composite material.

Interests and skills

I have used ICP-OES as analytical methods and some material characterization techniques (SEM-EDX, FTIR-ATR, Zeta potential measurements…) in my research.  My research interest involves effective, low coast and ecofriendly adsorption materials in water treatment for nutrient and metal recovery.

Education and background

I graduated from Department of Chemistry, University of Helsinki as an radiochemist. My Master's work was production of Pu-237 from uranium targets by accelator. Since then I have been working on development of radionuclide (Cs-137/Ba-137m) generator, analysis of radionuclides from used ion exchange resins of nuclear power plants and research concerning safe disposal of nuclear waste.

Current work

I work with further development of inorganic ion exchange material developed by the ion exchange group.

Interests and skills

Radioanalytical chemistry and chemical modelling.

Education and background

I graduated from the Department of Chemistry, University of Helsinki, in 2012 as an analytical chemist. The topic of my Master’s work was screening of waste water treatment plant effluents by comprehensive gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GCxGC-MS) for pharmaceuticals. Soon thereafter, I started work at the unit of Radiochemistry on the topic of ion exchange, and later enrolled as a doctoral student here.

Current work

I am now researching on the field of spent nuclear fuel partitioning & transmutation. My project aims to create new selective inorganic ion exchangers for the purpose of actinide and lanthanide uptake from acidic media, such as the current spent fuel treatment process effluents, and partitioning of said elements to facilitate transmutation strategies. Currently on this topic, we are looking into inorganic metal phosphates with multiple publications on the way.

Other interests

Nature, hardware and software, coding, mathematics, archery, dogs, champagne, and FUN.

Education and background

I finished my M.Sc degree in Radiochemistry from University of Helsinki at the end of 2015. The subject of my master’s thesis was a sorption of trivalent lanthanides and actinides on corundum (Al2O3). I have worked as a research assistant in the ion exchange group (2013-2014) and also as assistant in a nuclear waste disposal study (2015) that continued my master’s thesis study. At 2013 I had a summer work at the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) where I did mainly sample pre-treatments for natural samples.

Current work

I started my PhD study at the beginning of 2016 in the ion exchange group in the NanoFib project. The project focuses on developing inorganic nanofibrous ion exchangers for radionuclide and heavy metal removal. My part in this project is studying ion exchange properties of these nanofibers. By far the main focus has been removal of cobalt, antimony and technetium from salt solutions but also new ion exchangers are under development for separation of other metals.

Interests and skills

I have experience in radio analytical methods (gamma detectors, liquid scintillation) and elemental analysis (ICP-MS). My interest have also been in chemical modelling.

Education and background

My bachelor (2009) and master degree (2012) in the field of Chemistry and Chemical engineering were obtained from University of Beijing Chemical and Technology. I was a research assistant in Sinopec Safety Engineering Institute from 2012 to the end of 2013. After that, I started my PhD study in department of Chemistry of University of Helsinki form Jan. 1st, 2014.

Current work

I am working for the European Rare Earth Magnet Recycling Network (EREAN) project of Marie Skłodowska-Curie of FP7-PEOPLE-2013-ITN. My research topic is separation of rare earths from magnet by inorganic ion echangers. My work focus on developing new and efficient inorganic ion exchanger. The aim of this topic to separate Co, Nd and Dy from model leaching solution from end life of magnet.

Interests and skills

I have experiences on synthesis and characterization of the inorganic and inorganic-organic hybrid materials, ion exchange work and column studies. My interest is to develop functional materials for scale up.

Background and education

I obtained both my B.Sc. (2012) and M.Sc. degree (2015) in environmental science and engineering from Shanghai Jiao Tong University. My previous work concerns mainly heavy metal removal using inorganic zeolites, fabrication of hybrid composite materials utilizing naturally occurring polysaccharides, and environmental toxicological evaluation of organoarsenic compounds.

Current work

I am currently working in an EU Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie ITN project REDMUD (European Training Network for Zero-Waste Valorisation of Bauxite Residue). REDMUD aims at developing a fully closed-loop environmentally-friendly recovery flow sheet for bauxite residue valorisation. My subproject is focused on the synthesis of inorganic metal phosphate ion-exchangers for selective separation of rare earth elements (especially scandium) from acid leachate of bauxite residue. Recently, my work has extended to the preparation of organic-inorganic hybrid materials based on metal phosphate platform.

Interests and skills

I have experience in inorganic synthesis, some metal analysis techniques (digestion, FAAS, ICP-OES, MP-OES, HG-AFS) and material characterization techniques (SEM-EDX, AFM, XRD, TGA, IR).

Back­ground and edu­ca­tion

I finished my master's thesis and received my M.Sc degree in Chemistry from University of Helsinki in spring term 2017. The subject of my master's thesis was the interaction of radionuclides with clay minerals, especially clay colloids. The work was done partly in University of Helsinki and partly in Institute for Nuclear Waste Disposal (INE) in Karslruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). In Karlsruhe I utilized Laser-Induced Breakdown Detection for particle analysis of montmorillonite colloids. During my studies I have worked as a research assistant in bentonite erosion and radionuclide sorption studies (2013-2015) before working on my Master's thesis.

Cur­rent work

After finishing my M.Sc degree I started my PhD project related to the removal of iodine from process and ground waters utilizing inorganic ionexchangers. Compared to the previous subject of my studies, the inorganic ion exchange research have a different approach and view to the same natural processes that are going in the sorption of radionuclides onto natural clay minerals. Of course, the material science is a new subject for me and offers a new branch of expertise to learn.

In­terests and skills

I have knowledge on different analytical methods for Radioactivity detection (LSC, gamma detectors), elemental analysis (ICP-MS, MP-OES), particle analysis (Dynamic Light Scattering, Zeta potential measurements) and GC-MS.