The amount of peat in peat bogs in southern Sweden is steadily growing. Peat bogs have stored carbon dioxide for hundreds of years. In cooperation with landowners, Södra Skogsenergi is now harvesting peat from around ten bogs. From an environmental perspective it makes sense to utilise the energy from trenched peat bogs, with long-term balance being maintained by not harvesting more than 25 per cent of annual growth.
Energy peat is harvested in the summer, as either cut peat or sod peat. Cut peat is extracted from highly decayed peat bogs and cut up, dried and stored in covered stacks. Sod peat is harvested by special machines which remove compressed blocks that are air-dried at the site.
Combining peat and wood fuel provides a high efficiency in boilers which enables fuels such as coal to be replaced as energy sources. Peat has recently been included in the trade in discharge rights. Rising prices have lowered the interest in using peat as fuel, but its role in the energy system is being examined and is expected to gain ground as a fossil fuel replacement.
Peat is also used for other purposes. Sphagnum, or peat moss, is processed and used in cultivation and benefits plants when mixed in cultivated soil as it contains air, water and nutrition. Varying the proportion of peat enables soil properties to be adapted to different purposes. Sphagnum is produced from white peat bogs with little decay. Spreading peat is used in animal stalls due to its ability to soak up moisture and odour and is also considered good for animal health. Nutrition stored in the peat makes it a valuable fertiliser.