Research Station

Background and history:
During the Second World War it was decided that Sweden would produce its own oil from shale. Oil was extracted from alum shale by pyrolysis and heating in situ (the Ljungström field).

The first drops were produced in 1942, and production ceased in 1966. The waste (ash and semi-coke) was deposited in the mined areas and on the Kvarntorpshögen waste heap (44 ha, 40 million m3).

Present and future scenarios: Kvarntorpshögen is still at very high temperature (over 500 °C), which means there is currently no leachate from the heap. As the heap cools, however, runoff will increase. It is still unclear how long this cooling will take; the current estimate is 50-100 years.

Iron sulphides are still undergoing oxidation in the heap. Acid is formed during this process, which lowers the pH. The combination of lower pH and increased runoff will substantially increase the transport of metals from Kvarntorpshögen.

Research Station:
Forskningsstation Kvarntorp, the research station, was opened on 20th October 2011. The research station is a collaboration between Kumla Municipality, the Man-Technology-Environment research centre at Örebro University and Bergskraft 11•13.

Research at the station aims to identify and learn more about the processes occurring in Kvarntorpshögen, what will happen in the future and what measures can be taken to minimise environmental impact.

The research focuses on the following:

Leaching of environmentally hazardous substances

- Prevent/delay/reduce leaching
- Increase leaching to determine metals in filtration/extraction/recovery
- Treat leachate in reactive or passive systems without aiming to extract/recover

Testing takes place mainly on a larger cubic metre scale to enable the study of processes that conceivably happen in the field. The laboratory scale is good for studying the suitability of a method, but does not take into account the formation of channels, flows and chemical deposits, for example, in the same way that a pilot-scale test does, and the predictability is therefore less reliable.

Mattias Bäckström
Mobile: +46 (0)72-721 57 02


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