VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has developed methods and product
innovations for processing the most rapidly renewable surface layer of peat
instead of using it for energy production. The goal is to develop bio-based
composite materials containing peat fibre, for example for the manufacture of
consumer products and construction materials, at the same time reducing the
use of oil-based raw materials in production.
The advantages of products containing peat fibre are their bio origin, low
cost, water resistance, impact strength, excellent fire endurance
characteristics and biodegradability.
Through its various projects VTT has developed materials containing
thermoplastic and panel-form peat fibre, as well as fibre-suitable
preprocessing methods. Milled peat can be used as peat fibre because it
contains several peat fractions and preferably long fibres, which are not silt
up, so it can function both as filling material and as reinforcing material in
The amount of raw material necessary for composite products would equate to a
fraction of current peat production, which is a factor in support of its use
in ecological products. Composite production is also an alternative to peat
burning, and would preserve jobs in the peat industry.
Materials containing peat fibre are suitable for processing with normal
plastic processing methods, using compounding, extrusion and injection
moulding, for example. Currently no company in Finland is producing or
exploiting these kinds of peat composite materials.
Material solutions containing peat fibre can be used in construction (boards,
moulding, profiles, plate structures), product applications in horticulture
and in agriculture and forestry (seedling guards, planters, peat-coloured wall
structures, plant supports), consumer products (golf tees, ornaments),
biodegradable packaging, earth-moving (erosion protectors, biodegradable
support structures) and funerary products.
VTT currently has three patent applications pending related to peat containing
Development work has been funded partly by the TULI project of the Finnish
Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation Tekes.