Fuel Peat -- World Resources and Utilisation
AUTHOR: G.R. Couch
DATE: March 1993
On a worldwide scale, peat is a minor contributor to energy production and use. Peat contributes only about one thousandth of the energy used globally. Locally, however, it can be important. In Finland it contributes about 5% to primary energy consumption, and in Ireland almost 10%. Up to 70% of the peat extracted is sold for non-energy purposes, principally in agriculture and horticulture.
This report discusses the techniques for peat harvesting and the removal of water. There is considerable experience in using solar energy for drying but technologies for wet harvesting and mechanical dewatering which could eliminate the weather dependency in peat harvesting are being developed.
The use of peat for combustion and gasification are considered. Peat is currently used for power and heat generation in Finland, Ireland, the former USSR and in Sweden. Peat-fired boilers up to 150M We have been operated successfully.
Environmental issues which mainly concern the area of land required for harvesting and changes to the drainage pattern and water-table are also covered.
With the decline in oil prices during the latter part of the 1980s, fuel peat has become less competitive, but its use can still be appropriate in remote areas and where the socio-economic implications of use are taken into account.