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GTK study – Energy wells’ ethanol containing heat transfer fluids do not burden the environment

Apr 26, 2021

The Geological Survey of Finland (GTK) has published an impartial environmental risk review on energy wells’ impacts on groundwaters. The published report was prepared as part of the Smart Otaniemi initiative funded by Business Finland. The study carries out an extensive review of the environmental risks associated with the installation and usage phases of energy wells. The risks were assessed in a two-phase process, covering the impact during the drilling of wells and the risk during the use of the geoenergy system.

Based on the study, energy wells do not constitute an uncontrolled environmental risk due to the appropriate culture of planning prevalent in the industry – indeed, accounting for risk management measures in the design is axiomatic. The risk survey included a computation of the dispersal of Altia’s ethanol containing heat transfer fluid and its impact on the soil in the event of a possible leakage. The environmental burden attributable to the ethanol and denaturants is minimal, local and temporary.

GTK’s study shows that energy wells are a safe and low-risk alternative, also in groundwater areas.

Altia wishes to thank the Geological Survey of Finland for a highly topical and clear study which has the potential to generate understanding between different operators in the industry on the benefits of energy wells, not forgetting the environment. The research report is available in full (in Finnish) at: Energiakaivon asennus ja käyttö – Ympäristöriskitarkastelu.

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