Head of Research Programme: Chief Scientist Samu Valpola
The energy research programme provides energy-related information as part of Finland’s efforts to reduce its dependence on imported fuels and lower the impact of energy production on climate change. Organized around the themes of geoenergy, bioenergy and nuclear power, the programme seeks to apply basic research findings to commercially viable applications. It promotes energy-efficient business models and technologies, and provides policy-makers, urban planners and other officials with unbiased research data on domestic renewable energy sources.
The programme focuses on development of ways to assess potential geoenergy resources. Joint development projects with companies and other research organizations and service providers on commercial geoenergy applications are stressed. GTK has done extensive work on ground-source heating and cooling at the district level and for large targets such as shopping centres, office buildings, hotels, and public buildings. GTK’s geoenergy work combines in-house research and strong international integration with leading firms and research institutes.
Peat biomass studies pursue two objectives. Testing efforts focus on cost-effective utilization of peat areas, along with development of geophysical applications in peat mire mapping and use of peat as a raw material in the production of biodiesel fuels. A second objective is to prepare a comprehensive bioenergy balance sheet in cooperation with other national agencies, including the Finnish Forest Research Institute (Metla).
GTK acts as an independent expert to develop geodata, particularly the ultimate siting of nuclear waste and evaluation of proposed nuclear power plant sites. In the area of nuclear waste management, the emphasis is on bedrock modelling, studies of filler materials and the chemistry and dispersion of groundwater.
The programme also examines opportunities for carbon dioxide capture and sequestration. Development of original solutions is emphasized with a view to the emerging international demand for CO2 capture and sequestration.