Wastewater treatment

Sine 1990, we have financed over 60 wastewater treatment plants in the Baltic Sea region, and currently 16 wastewater projects are being implemented in Estonia, Russia and Ukraine.

See some of our case studies

Agriculture, forestry and fishery

As regards NEFCO’s investments in the agricultural sector, the main focus has been on upgrading, improving and developing manure treatment at big animal farms to address emissions of methane to the atmosphere, as well as to tackle discharges of phosphorus and nitrogen to surrounding water courses in general and into the Baltic Sea in particular.

A typical project can entail everything from the installation of energy-efficient equipment and technologies to the installation of membrane-lined lagoons and anaerobic digestion tanks or the construction of a biogas reactor that uses manure and slurry as fuel. We have financed such projects at pig and cattle farms in Russia, Ukraine, Estonia and Latvia.

Furthermore, we are interested in agricultural projects that reduce the use of pesticides, support no-till farming methods, upgrade the fleet of vehicles or make use of agricultural residues for energy production or biofuel.


NEFCO is financing projects in a variety of sectors in which energy consumption can be reduced and/or fossil fuels can be substituted by renewable alternatives. Such projects may include installation of modern technology at water/wastewater treatment plants, improved efficiency at power plants, insulation of buildings and improved process technology at industrial enterprises.

Energy-saving measures in municipally owned buildings such as schools, day-care centres, hospitals and sports facilities is one of our main investment areas in Ukraine. The energy-saving measures can include, for instance, refurbishment of heat sub-centrals, installation of thermostatic valves together with insulation of windows and doors.

Energy-efficiency projects also include replacement of mercury-vapour street lamps with energy-saving alternatives, such as LED -lamps. We are also involved in several district heating projects in Ukraine, through our fund management assignments.

Industry and services

Upgraded industrial production can reduce the consumption of energy, or minimise the use of raw materials or the quantity of waste, to mention a few examples. In industrial projects NEFCO attaches great importance to resource efficiency that can translate into efficient use of raw materials such as metals, chemicals and water. Minimising waste through reuse of raw materials used in the production process and closed loop systems is also prioritised by us. Reliance on best available technology that minimises energy consumption or production where the client can replace hazardous substances with safer alternatives is also an important aspect that characterises sustainable industrial investments.

The positive environmental effects may be obtained directly by the investment, or indirectly through NEFCO’s financial support to companies producing environmental equipment such as sulphur scrubbers, chemicals related to water treatment, or insulation material, to mention a few examples. In these cases the environmental impact is achieved at the consumer level.

Our industrial project portfolio comprises, for example, upgraded cement production, modernisation of a factory producing insulation materials, replacement of PVC plastics with polyethylene and production of waterborne paints.

Renewable energy

The energy sector is one of NEFCO’s priority areas. We support investments in renewable energy in order to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and thereby mitigate climate change.

Our loan portfolio for renewable energy projects comprises investments in wind farms and solar plants, small-scale hydro power, extraction of methane at waste disposal sites, thermal energy, wood-based bioenergy, as well as usage of agricultural residues for the production of biofuels. In most of these projects, our clients have managed to combine energy-efficiency measures with investments in renewable energy. We have also financed feasibility studies and reports assessing possibilities to turn waste into energy or make use of logging residues for bioenergy.

Waste and recycling

The general objective of NEFCO´s involvement in the waste management sector is to minimise the amount of waste and improve treatment practices by, for example, lending support to sorting, recycling and re-using solid waste.

We are keen on addressing, for example, the following challenges in the solid waste sector:

  • Toxic compounds leaking into the soil, ground water and atmosphere from dumping grounds
  • Uncontrolled waste incineration creating hazardous atmospheric emissions
  • Non-recirculated waste consuming non-renewable resources

With the establishment of modern waste handling systems, more waste can be transformed into resources and products instead of creating the above-mentioned problems. Recycling of paper, plastics, chemicals, metals and textiles, solvents and e-waste are a priority area for NEFCO.

Our experiences from the waste sector are largely centred on waste-to-energy investments aimed at extracting methane and producing energy in connection with waste disposal sites. We have financed such projects in, for example, Lithuania and Belarus. We have also financed feasibility studies that focus on ways to improve treatment of medical and domestic waste in the Barents Region.

Water and wastewater

NEFCO finances primarily wastewater treatment projects that reduce discharges of nutrients into the Baltic Sea. The Barents region is also of interest to us. We are particularly keen on financing projects that reduce the discharges of phosphorus and nitrogen and improve the biological oxygen demand in surrounding watercourses. Improved energy efficiency in connection with technological upgrades of existing wastewater treatment plants is also an important criterion for these kinds of projects.

Apart from addressing the removal of nutrients from wastewater, we are assessing other environmental threats such as the abundance of microplastics, pharmaceuticals and persistent organic pollutants and how to reduce such substances in wastewater. We have solid experience from financing wastewater treatment projects in Russia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and has recently also approved wastewater treatment plants in Ukraine into the portfolio.

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