The Year of Geology 2016

Geology helps promote the sustainable use of natural resources

Cleantech is a broad concept, and it has great potential for interesting research topics and service concepts also from the point of view of geology. The research topics of GTK’s strategic Cleantech theme include topics related to mining environment, heating and cooling applications of geoenergy, and circular economy of mineral-based materials. Common denominators of these topics are clean technology solutions that promote sustainable use of natural resources and prevent or reduce the adverse environmental effects of the business sector.

Commercial operations concentrate on developing mineral and enrichment processes for the business sector, and targeted and regional work with geoenergy. GTK has also provided consultation and statements in relation to the EIA processes and permits of production areas. In jointly funded activities, the focus is on the development of solutions for mining environments.

The recruitment of a research professor for the field of production environments, and a chief scientist for the field of geoenergy strengthens the research competence related to the theme.

Pursuing clean technology solutions

In the study of circular economy, corporate cooperation was increased in, for example, the research and testing of the solutions to utilise industrial ash and tailings.

Cleantech is one of the fastest growing industries in Finland.

Cooperation with companies has continued to deepen through research projects of mining environments. The joint mine water network of GTK and research institutions from Eastern Finland has proven successful and created an extensive national and international network to promote the development of the sector. The focus of the network’s operations is on the development of solutions for mining environments. During the last months of the year, international marketing of service solutions related to mining environments was also boosted.

GTK has prepared the concept of storing energy in bedrock in the Helsinki area in cooperation with companies. Commissioned ground and rock heat surveys (geoenergy) continued and, as a result of measurement and modelling, produced cost savings for hybrid solutions in during both construction and use. Research and customer activities related to the utilisation of energy stored in the groundwater were started with a joint project late in the reporting year.

Regional potential of geoenergy was studied locally in urban areas, such as Tampere and Turku. Storing energy became an important area of research, and its role as a part of regional production systems is significant.

In order to develop geoenergy services, the processes of producing basic data when collecting and processing land cover thickness data and measuring the thermal properties of rock types in laboratory conditions were improved. These improvements make the service quality better. The first version of the map theme displaying the national geoenergy potential was finished, and now supports the possibilities of geoenergy in regional land use planning and zoning.