The creation of coal, known as coalification, takes around 300 million years to complete and form the traditional house fuel known as bituminous coal. In fact, the intense heat and pressure that the dead vegetative matter was exposed to during this period determines the colour, shape and chemical make-up of the coal itself. Read on as the team here at Pearson Fuels go over everything there is to know about a variation of coal known as peat…

What is peat?

During the coalification process, dead vegetative matter was exposed to intense heat and pressure for varying periods of time and this led to the development of different coal types known as peat, lignite, sub-bituminous, bituminous and anthracite. In fact, peat is the youngest form of the fossil fuel and is widely known for its high moisture content. This makes it incredibly different from other varieties because it does not have a traditional appearance like the coal that we burn domestically and commercially.

The Characteristics of Peat

Peat is formed through the decomposition of plant materials and takes around 1000 years to form, however, deep peat beds can take at least 10,000 years to develop. As a result, it is the fastest developing variety of coal because the entire process of coalification can last for millions of years. Due to the low levels of heat and pressure that peat is exposed to, it lacks the characteristics, stability and rigid texture of traditional coals and has a significantly lower carbon content.

How is peat used?

Since peat is known for its ability to retain moisture, it is very effective in horticulture. In fact, many gardeners will add it to potted mixes in order to increase the acidity of certain plants. In addition to this, it is also used in a practice known as balneotherapy which involves bathing in usual substances in order to treat and prevent diseases. Peat contains many chemical components that react with organic and inorganic compounds which is why it has been used as an antiseptic since ancient times.

Here at Pearson Fuels, we stock an array of different types of coal including traditional bituminous and a naturally smokeless variety known as anthracite. Interestingly, the two youngest forms, peat and lignite, are too immature to be effectively burned inside the home and that is why peat is often used in horticulture in order to increase the moisture capacity of sandy soil. To find out more information about the different types of coal, get in contact with the best coal merchants around and speak to a member of the Pearson Fuels team today!