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Peat

Peat is classed as a renewable resource. Peat is formed in the process of peat formation driven by the annual ground vegetation fall and decay of the underground parts of swamp plants.

Annually about 3.0 billion m3 of peat is produced worldwide, this is about 120 times more than its consumption. Thickness of a peat in the swamp grows at a rate of few millimeters per year.

Peat is formed in the process of peat formation driven by the annual ground vegetation fall and decay of the underground parts of swamp plants.

Interesting facts:

  • Total area of swamps worldwide is approximately 5 mln. sq. km. or 3,7% of the land mass (excluding Antarctica).
  • If peat were brought to a 40% moisture content (at which it can be used for energy and other purposes), the mass of the world's peat reserves will be approximately 500 billion tons.

Areas with high swamping favorable to peat formation

Chemical composition of dry peat is quite diverse, although 5 main elements can be identified that are dominant:

  • Carbon (С) – 48%-65%;
  • Oxygen (О) – 25%-45%;
  • Hydrogen (Н) – 4,7%-7%;
  • Nitrogen (N) – 1%-3%;
  • Sulfur (S) – 0,1%-1,5%

Interesting facts:

  • Peat contains more oxygen than the air (about 20% of mass), but less than Earth's crust (47%), much less than hydrosphere (86%) or living organisms (80%).
  • The picture is quite different with carbon content. There is only 2,3% of it in the lithosphere, hundredth of a percent in the atmosphere, and similarly small numbers in the hydrosphere.
  • Different still with organic matter. On average living organisms contain 18% of carbon. The real „collector" of carbon is detritus, which is a base for formation of deposits of raw fuel (otherwise called hydrocarbon). The higher the carbon content, the higher the quality of fuel. Wood contains 50% of carbon, peat – up to 65%, coal – 80%, oil – 85%, anthracite – 96%.

Main uses of peat products:

  • Initially, peat was used only as a fuel. This use remains and is still actively developed.
  • Second and most important use for peat is in agriculture, horticulture, gardening.
  • Third use is the production of peat byproducts and their use in various industries.

Benefits to agriculture:

  • Organic fibers of peat improve hydration and aeration of soil.
  • Humic acids and mineral components (oxides of sulfur, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, sulfur, and trace elements such as zinc, copper, cobalt, molybdenum, manganese) contained in peat, enrich the soil and stimulate plant growth.

Sources of information:

Всероссийская общественная организация.
Русское географическое общество. Вид и свойства торфа
rgo.ru

Всероссийская общественная организация.
Русское географическое общество. Запасы торфа в России и в мире
rgo.ru

Всероссийская общественная организация.
Русское географическое общество. Торф – краткое описание.
rgo.ru