The company Dravske elektrarne Maribor, the largest producer of electricity from renewable sources operating within the HSE Group, successfully completed the project of the evaluation and remediation of sediments for further use in the construction sector – READY4USE after three years of work in cooperation with its partners, the Slovenian National Building and Civil Engineering Institute and the Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology of the University of Ljubljana. The project was co-financed by the Slovenian Research and Innovation Agency from the state budget.

Dravske Elektrarne Maribor encounters the challenge of river sedimentation, as sediments are accumulating in the Drava River due to its type. The READY4USE project was designed to examine sustainable solutions for sediment management. Project team members developed and tested new procedures for removing heavy metals from the sediments and developed new building materials that are based on the application of these sediments.

The most important contribution of the READY4USE project was the development of innovative procedures for the remediation of sediments by using new eco-friendly biosurfactants and the design of optimal mixtures for producing bricks and alkali-activated materials (AAMs). These innovative processes will not only be beneficial for managers of hydroelectric power plants in Slovenia, but also for others around the world. The project further analysed the environmental aspects of all researched processes and products with the analysis of life cycle assessment (LCA), which contributed to the interdisciplinarity of the project and enabled sustainable sediment management.

Mag. Damjan Seme, Director General of Dravske Elektrarne Maribor, stated, “The READY4USE project is important, as it addressed the challenge of sedimentation which affects the safety of hydroelectric power plants, electricity production, high water-retention capacity, provision of water for irrigation and maintenance of the ecological potential of reservoirs. The cooperation between the scientific and business spheres within the READY4USE project resulted in significant sustainable solutions for sedimentation management. Furthermore, the project also contributed to the development and improvement of the construction sector. We thank all the partners and experts who participated in the project and are looking forward to the further development and application of innovations in the construction sector, including cooperation in the fields that proved interesting for research during the project.”