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. Materials containing peat fibre are suitable for processing with normal plastic processing methods, using compounding, extrusion and injection moulding, for example.
Excellent business opportunity
According to Kirsi Immonen, Research Scientist at VTT, there are currently no companies in Finland that are producing or exploiting these kinds of composite peat materials. “It would be possible to get products to the market even in just a few months if the there was a company that was interested in starting to do the processing,” she says in an interview with the Tekniikka&Talous magazine.
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 biocomposites.
Sources: VTT Tekniikka&Talous