Tutoring: Alternative Applications of Local Oil Shale Residues

Tutoring partner: Kärt Ojavee

Estonian oil shale has been used for 100 years mainly for electricity and oil generation with the ash being used for cement and light brick production. The main Estonian oil shale type is kukersite, which is the admixture of pyrite and the useless, or noncombustible, matter (i.e. ballast) consists of lime and clay minerals. Since the 1960s, Estonia has been the largest oil shale producer and consumer in the world.

Oil shale mining and oil shale industries have been a discussion of controversy for decades — it gives Estonia an autonomy in electricity and heat production, however a lot of damage is done during mining and waste generated during processing. In fact, about 80% of the total amount of waste generated in Estonia is generated in Ida-Viru County by the enterprises of oil shale processing.

During this studio, we had a two-day trip to the region to visit power plant in Auvere, ash deposit mountain, shale oil extraction plant in Kohtla-Järve, fly ash building blocks factory, abandoned mining towns, and other relevant places. We also had a lecture on the topic in Estonian Oil Shale Competence Centre.

4 projects were proposed, that dealt with mycoremedation techniques on semi-coke residues, revivement of the ghost towns, opening the potential of fly ash building block, and use of mine waste mountains.

Project year: 2017