In accordance with national climate and energy policy, GTK’s energy supply and environment segment promotes reduced dependence on imported energy supplies, low-emission modes of energy production and adjustment to the impacts of climate change. Energy research includes application of ground-based heating and cooling to larger structures, identification of stable sites for nuclear power plants and underground storage of spent nuclear fuel, as well as mapping of Finland’s vast peat reserves with a view to suitability as a fuel source and industrial usability. Studies of seabed geology generated reliable data on long-term climate and environmental changes through modelling of climate trends. The work is valuable in development of planning measures to adjust to climate change impacts.
Peat is organic soil which has stratified in its formation location from dead peat land plants through partial decomposition in wet and oxygen-free conditions.
There is a lot of peat land (approximately 9.3 million hectares) in Finland. Their most common uses are forestry and agriculture (appr. 5 million hectares), swamp conservation (appr. 1.13 million hectares), and peat production (appr. 0.08 million hectares). In addition to these uses, approximately one third (appr. 3 million hectares) of Finland’s mires is still in a natural state.
Nowadays, peat is mostly used as an energy source and as environmental and horticultural peat. Peat covers 7 per cent of energy supply and 20 per cent of district heat. In energy supply, peat is used to supplement imported energy, which forms 70 per cent of Finland’s energy supply.
GTK maps and surveys Finland’s peat resources while taking into consideration different uses and produces diverse information for the needs of land use planning and the business sector. GTK produces research information on the carbon cycle and peat accumulation.