Are Peat Briquettes Environmentally Friendly?
Peat briquettes keep the domestic fuel of choice for many as they are economical, slow-burning, give off tremendous heat and little smoke. They are used commonly in Ireland and Scotland where peat is abundant, however many are suggesting that peat briquettes are not environmentally friendly and their continued use should be closely observed.
In many parts of Ireland and throughout the UK, peat briquettes are used for starting and maintaining a fire in the home in addition as for barbeques and other outdoor fires. They are sold as a substantial fuel and as the name indicates they are stacked up in the fire and layered like a brick wall in order to create a substantial source of slow-burning heat. Manufacturers dry out shredded peat and then compress this down into a compact brick, which, when lit, burns slowly with little flame and in some situations, a pleasant aroma.
This domestic fuel is often marketed as an environmentally friendly and safer fuel because they typically have a low ash and low sulphur content. Modern manufacturing methods average that toxins are extracted, making the emissions from the bricks safe for the ecosystem. This also method that they are a carbon neutral fuel. They neither contribute to nor reduce the amount of carbon that goes into the air.
However strong opinion is forming, which indicates that not all are environmentally friendly. Some binders and additives used in the production of peat briquettes average that they are not all carbon neutral. Some manufacturers will claim that their range is fully carbon neutral, however this wont always be the case.
As the popularity of this domestic fuel continues to grow, peat bogs are diminishing in size at, some say; a rate quicker than the Amazonian rain forest. If this rate continues without aggressive replenishment, natural peat bogs may disappear from some parts of Ireland and Scotland over the next 25 years. Environmentalists are claiming that peat bogs are home to important species of organisms in addition as other plants and that the destruction of this habitat is having a big impact on native wildlife.
There is a growing sense of social responsibility being adopted by many producers and suppliers of peat briquettes with awareness and adoption of environmentally friendly practices becoming more shared. This is being rule by Bord na Mona, the biggest producer of peat briquettes in Ireland and semi-owned by the Irish Government. They are investing in the production of blended peat briquettes, which use 40% sawdust and 60% peat to create a 100% natural and heavily reduced carbon product.
So while peat briquettes arent always 100% environmentally friendly, when manufactured in a sustainable manner, they represent a much more attractive, and safe, domestic fuel. With Bord na Mona leading the way with an environmentally friendly approach to its production, the future is looking more bright for this basic domestic fuel.