University of Oulu

Commercialization challenges of adsorbent materials for water and wastewater treatment

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Author: Kunwar, Pukar1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Technology, Industrial Engineering and Management
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 2 MB)
Pages: 82
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : P. Kunwar, 2022
Publish Date: 2022-05-17
Thesis type: Master's thesis (tech)
Tutor: Majava, Jukka
Luukkonen, Tero
Haapasalo, Harri
Reviewer: Majava, Jukka
Luukkonen, Tero
Haapasalo, Harri


Adsorption is commonly used to remove low-concentration natural organic matter or industrial contaminants from drinking water to improve the water’s taste, color, or safety. Adsorption is carried out with adsorbents, which are solid materials. Scientific research on adsorbent materials has increased exponentially, resulting in rapid advancements in preparation methods, chemical modification, and adsorbent quality assurance, revealing remarkable capacities to absorb organic and inorganic pollutants from natural water and industrial wastewater. However, the experimental new adsorbent materials are only seldomly productized and commercialized despite extensive research.

The goal of the thesis was to facilitate the commercialization processes of adsorbent materials for water and wastewater treatment through productization. To achieve the goal, a productization platform for adsorbent materials was first developed through a literature review of business models, productization, and the new technology introduction. The second step was to perform qualitative research. Companies in Finland that represent adsorbent materials producers and vendors, consultants providing water treatment design services, and end-users of adsorbent materials were interviewed for the empirical research. The assessments of the opportunities and challenges in the adsorbent materials productization are based on the analysis of the current status of the interviewed companies. Finally, the research results and the concept of the literature review were combined to recommend a reference business model and productization structure of adsorbent materials for water and wastewater treatment.

Clarifying offerings and building a business strategy to support the commercialization of the offering are the two aspects of the productization platform for adsorbent materials. The empirical results led to a determination of the water and wastewater treatment requirements and customer expectations. Materials, legislation and standards, cost, customer, and logistics were listed as the five most important water and wastewater treatment requirements, followed by a long list of consumers (companies with water and wastewater treatment plants) expectations (adsorbent materials should be legally proven, tested, validated, cost-effective, previously used for the same purpose, marketed, etc. ). These requirements and expectations indicate that an adsorbent materials manufacturer, distributor, and service provider should have compelling business models. A business model assists in integrating needs and expectations into the product application by understanding and linking the product’s commercial and technical structure, which results in a commercially successful product. As a result, even though companies face numerous challenges, the productization of adsorbent materials offers innumerable opportunities.

Conclusively, a constructive and descriptive business model, as well as a productization framework, were recommended. An effective business plan and perfect productization of the adsorbent materials can aid in commercializing novel adsorbent materials. "The offerings (adsorbent materials) can be offered as — adsorbent materials as a product-oriented and adsorbent materials as a result-oriented," was the key recommendation for commercializing novel adsorbent materials.

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Copyright information: © Pukar Kunwar, 2022. Except otherwise noted, the reuse of this document is authorised under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC-BY 4.0) licence ( This means that reuse is allowed provided appropriate credit is given and any changes are indicated. For any use or reproduction of elements that are not owned by the author(s), permission may need to be directly from the respective right holders.