Ilona Leppänen awarded for research addressing global challenges
The use of petroleum-derived plastics has led to a globally significant environmental problem: micro- and nanosized plastic pollution. Due to their tiny size, these plastic particles find their way all over our habitat. In addition to the seas and water bodies, decomposed plastic is found in rainwater, fish, fruit, drinking water, and even in the air that we breathe.
Researchers around the world are trying to find solutions to the microplastics challenge. One of them is the Ilona Leppänen, who together with a research group led by Professor Tekla Tammelin at VTT has taken up the challenge. They have developed a method in which a nanocellulose film can be used to detect and capture microplastics from water.
Ilona was recently declared the winner of the “From Lab to Business Idea” ForestBioPitch competition, organized by Finnish Forest Products Engineers' Association, FinnCERES Flagship programme, VTT and the startup accelerator Kiuas at Aalto University.
The European Paper Industry Association (CEPI) has also taken note of this important research. It recently awarded Ilona as one of three young researchers in the annual Blue Sky Young Research & Innovation Award.