Peatland Resources and the Use of Energy Peat in Finland

Kimmo Virtanen

Proceedings of the 14th International Peat Congress


energy-peat, finland, peat, peat-resources

Virtanen 2012: Peatland Resources and the Use of Energy Peat in Finland


Theme II. Peat for horticulture, energy and other uses


One-third of the land area in Finland is covered by mires and peat. It is 9.3 million ha.
The development of mires has led to three main types: raised bogs in Southern Finland, aapa mires in Ostrobothnia and Lapland, and palsa mires in Northern Lapland. Peat layers are deepest in southern Finland and partly in the southern Finnish Lake area, the Region of North Karelia and in central Lapland. The mean depth of mires is 1.41 m and the thickest drilled peat is 12.3 m.

The national peat reserve totals 69.3 billion m3 in situ (mire > 20 ha). The dry solids of peat are estimated at 6.3 billion tonnes. Sphagnum peat accounts for 54% and Carex peat for 45% of feasible peat reserves.

Peatlands that are technically suitable for the peat industry cover a total area of 1.2
million ha and contain 29.6 billion m3 of peat in situ. Slightly humified Sphagnum -peat suitable for horticultural and environmental use totals 5.9 billion m3 in situ. The energy peat reserve is 23.7 billion m3 in situ and its energy content is 12 800 TWh. At present, peat is used in around one hundred applications in the inland cities and towns co-generating electricity and heat. The broadly-based Finnish energy economy, with various energy sources, is the best in the EU according to the EU Commission. As a fuel, peat fulfils the goals of the EU energy policy in Finland well: it is local, its availability is good and the price is stable and the use of peat also enhances national security.