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Jonas Hedlund, chemical technology 2022 Photo: Richard Renberg
Jonas Hedlund, Chemical Technology 2022. Photo: Richard Renberg View original picture , opens in new tab/window

Innovator employee of the year 2022

Published: 8 November 2022

Jonas Hedlund, Professor and Researcher in Chemical Technology at Luleå University of Technology, has received the Innovator of the year 2022 award. Jonas Hedlund's research on zeolite membranes that may e.g. be used for purification of biogas to vehicle gas saves energy and reduces carbon dioxide emissions.

"My company ZeoMem Sweden AB is the only company that sells zeolite membranes with sufficiently high permeability and selectivity to be interesting for industrial gas purification. Zeolite membrane processes are a new, inexpensive and compact technology that is about 90 percent more energy efficient than today's technology. An estimate is that zeolite membrane processes may be used in 5 percent of the world's separation processes, which implies that the energy saving potential for new zeolite membrane processes corresponds to more than Sweden's annual oil consumption," says Jonas Hedlund.

Jury motivation

After more than 20 years of research on zeolite membranes, Jonas Hedlund has developed a unique and scalable solution for the purification of biogas. It can radically reduce energy use, carbon dioxide emissions and electricity consumption in facilities - everything from small agriculture to very large industries. Jonas and his team at ZeoMem Sweden AB are now aiming for industrial scale-up to be able to supply very large plants with membranes to purify natural gas and ethylene. An important contribution to the green transition and a more sustainable world. Jonas Hedlund is therefore well deserving the Innovator of the Year award.

Innovation benefits

Jonas Hedlund has for a long time developed new membrane technology for gas purification and purification of seawater for drinking water. He also works with new technology for the production of biojet fuel. He is very keen that the research should generate benefit for society and has therefore started two companies, ZeoMem Sweden AB and Neo Kemiteknik AB. The first company was awarded several years ago and since then the company has worked hard to develop sufficiently large zeolite membranes for industrial processes. The first large zeolite membranes have now been sold to a manufacturer of plants for upgrading biogas to vehicle gas in agriculture. This leads to increased profitability in agriculture, reduced dependence on fossil fuels and reduced carbon dioxide emissions. Now the company is working to increase manufacturing capacity to sell zeolite membranes to larger plants. In the next step, an automated factory for zeolite membrane manufacturing will be put into operation in Luleå so that the company can also supply very large facilities with membranes to purify natural gas and ethylene.

"A task that we researchers have is to commercialize our research results in cooperation with the surrounding society. Without this commercialization, no green transition," says Jonas Hedlund.

The Innovator of the Year is selected by a jury and the prize is SEK 10,000, which is financed by Nordea's Norrlandsstiftelse.

Jonas Hedlund

Jonas Hedlund, Professor and Head of Subject

Phone: +46 (0)920 492105
Organisation: Chemical Technology, Chemical Engineering, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering