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STRETCH OF PEAT-BOG BROKEN UP FOR MACHINE PEAT. In the manufacture of the best briquette fuel, the surface of a bog is not now broken up in this way, but is cut in thin layers of loose soil and spread out to dry. and is therefore studying the problem more diligently. A variety of working methods have been tested.
Ordinarily a peat-bog has first to be drained. In some cases, however, the bog is permanently wet, the peat lying below the surface of a vast muskeg which cannot be drained. A dredge, floating on the bog, may
be used in such cases to PEAT EXCAVATOR AT WORK.
excavate the peat, which Electrically operated.
may then be loaded on
scows and towed to a attempts have been made in New York, suitable location for spreading and dryMichigan, Indiana, and others of the ing. A new process has been proposed in Northern States. Some measure of suc- Manitoba, by which the fuel is to be mancess lias marked them all as experiments; ufactured on the spot, the peat being but while it has been clearly proved that raised from the bog by a chain of buckets, an excellent fuel can be made from bog passed to a breaking-up machine, and peat, no means of profitably producing then, in a paste form, put through steama commercial fuel has yet been dis- heated pipes, from which it emerges in covered. The total peat-fuel production about forty minutes sufficiently dried to of the United States is not more than be pressed into briquettes. The entire 1,500 tons a year, while in the same machinery for these operations is carried length of time the output of coal amounts on the scow, which thus receives the raw to 350,000,000 tons. The difficulty in material at one end and delivers the every case has been to rid the peat of its finished fuel at the other. The process water-content, and this admittedly re- is, however, as yet experimental and at mains the problem to-day. The solution of least questionable. the problem will very possibly come from It is nearly always necessary to drain Canada, where experimentation has been the bog by main ditches some 500 or 600 carried on for years. with considerable success, though not until a number of the initial enterprises had been financially wrecked. Canada is particularly concerned in the matter, because for want of native coal, except in the far east and the far west, she is largely dependent upon the United States for fuel supply. The latter, having a sufficient store of the finest coal, can perhaps afford for a time to neglect the peat deposits; but Canada is
Electrically operated. Corresponds to the modern hay-rake that gathers the in more urgent need,
feet apart, and a series of smaller cross- The removal of the last thirty or forty ditches, the depth and closeness of the per cent of water is the rock on which latter depending upon the character of producers have inevitably wrecked. Folthe bog. Its surface cleared of debris lowing Nature's example, it has been and growing moss, and leveled, the bog thought that this can be done by heavy is ready for working. The mass of red pressure; but, after countless attempts,
it has been found that what Nature can
trial, were no more successful. Drying A Typical Peat-Bog. .
by pressure seems right in theory, but is
in fact impracticable. Tish-black soil has first to be broken up The surest method is that of air-dryin such manner as to expose it to the ing, but it necessitates too large space and action of the air, an ordinary farm har is too greatly dependent upon weather row sometimes serving for the purpose. conditions. A process that largely overA layer of from one to two inches, thus comes these difficulties, however, has loosened, air-dries under favorable cir- been found successful, on at least a cumstances in a few hours, reducing its moisture from eighty to forty per cent. In this partly dried condition it is ready for the final processes, and is gathered up, loaded on tram-cars, and taken to the factory.
With forty, per cent of water, peat is not yet suitable for fuel. The drying process must be carried still further, and the loose particles must be bound together in a more compact and transportable form. At this point appears the real problem of peat-fuel production.
DRYING-RACKS FOR Machine Peat.
small scale. The crude peat is conveyed directly from the bog to the factory, and is there thoroughly broken up and macerated, then moulded into bricks about thirty inches long and laid on slatted pallets, which are passed outdoors again and stacked eight tiers high in drying-frames. These frames are skeleton, and admit the air and sun on all sides. Drying thus, much as building bricks are dried, the peat blocks are greatly condensed, and reduced in moisture from eighty to about thirty per cent. In handling, they break into irregular pieces, as coal, and in this form are ready for use.
A process which is fairly claimed to have demonstrated the practicability of peat-fuel production, is now in use in three of the leading peat-fields in Ontario, where excellent fuel is being produced on a commercially profitable basis, though as yet in limited quantities. The process, from its beginning, represents probably the most advanced ideas in peat
PEAT-BRIQUETTING MACHINE, manufacture. By this method the crude
Capacity, 13 tons in 10 hours. peat is removed from the bog, which has been carefully drained and leveled, by an electrically driven excavating ma- tor is carried on the excavator, obtaining chine, which travels slowly up and down its current from heavily insulated transone or both sides of the area under re- mission wires which trail behind from a moval. A series of cutting teeth, set on central point in the field. Successive an endless chain, cut a thin slice of peat layers may thus be spread to the depth of from the edge of the strip, and elevate it six inches, air-drying to about forty per to the top and opposite side of the ma- cent of moisture in a few hours' time. chine, where a fast-revolving paddle- The surface layers are then taken up wheel divides it into particles and by a mechanical gatherer, loaded on elecshowers it over the surface of the bog tric tram-cars, and dumped in a stock thirty feet away. A 10-horse-power mo- pile at the factory. A disintegrating ma
chine, fed through a hopper, breaks up a short blue flame; and, when well afire, the partially dried peat, thus destroying with a yellow glow and flame, giving out its minute plant cells, and empties it out an intense heat. It requires very little as a damp powder, which then passes on oxygen to sustain combustion, and will to the dryer, a heated cylinder thirty feet keep alive for ten or twelve hours, if long and three feet in diameter. The properly banked and draught-checked. mass of peat is twenty minutes in passing Peat makes no clinkers, but forms conthrough this cylinder, during which time siderable ash, though in a properly equipit is agitated by swiftly moving lifters; ped stove every portion of the fuel is and when it is discharged at the opposite consumed. As compared with other end, it is reduced to about fifteen per fuels, the calorific value is as follows: cent of moisture.
anthracite coal, 1.02; bituminous coal, The final step is shaping into market- 1.01 ; peat, 0.7; wood, 0.5. Peat has an able form. This is done in briquetting advantage over coal in a much smaller presses, by compressing punches working percentage of sulphur. in dies, with a pressure of twelve tons per The chief sphere for peat fuel will alsquare inch; the peat is expelled at the ways be in the home, where, for both rate of one hundred briquettes per min- heating and cooking purposes, it gives ute, each two inches long and about the excellent results. Whether or not it will same in diameter. Thirteen tons of ever be used extensively for steam-raisfinished fuel are produced by one of these ing, will depend upon the further progpresses in a ten-hour day, at a cost of ress made in its production. It has, howabout one dollar per ton.
ever, been already used very satisfacAnother process that has been experi- torily in a number of small manufacmented with to a small extent does away tories, and has been fairly tested for railwith air-drying, the crude peat being dug road use. Heavy freight trains in Rusand stacked irrespective of weather con- sia have made hundred-mile runs with ditions. The dryers, which are fed from peat in their locomotives, in as good time this stock pile at any time or season, are as with coal. In a test not long ago by steam-heated instead of dry-heated, and one of the western American roads, a it is claimed that by this system of steam sixty-mile run, consuming 4,450 pounds drying the moisture may be reduced to of coal, was made in 2 hours 46 minutes ; ten per cent or less. It has not yet, how- under precisely the same conditions, the ever, been commercially tested.
run was niade in five minutes' less time, The manufactured peat in briquette using 5,100 pounds of peat. For railform is of a dark brown color, sometimes road needs, however, the chief difficulty showing a polish on the surface. The lies in the supply. One of the Canadian tar, resin, paraffine, and other oils of the roads, whose lines traverse a vast peat natural peat, act, when warmed in the area, investigated the possibility of securpressing process, as a binder, and tend ing a supply of fuel equal to one thouto keep the cylindrical briquettes intact. sand tons per day, and found that an outThey are apt, however, if much handled, put of such proportions would be quite to break, and for this reason are chiefly impossible by any process involving as adapted to local market use. There is in much hand labor as those now in use. this and other respects a great divergence The future progress of the industry in the quality of various peat fuels, ac- will without doubt establish some means cording to the composition of the bog of producing the fuel rapidly and cheaply peat from which they are made, the pro- enough to put it on a commercial footing portions of carbon, etc., varying consid- in the national market. Nature has superably. Peat from the bog may differ plied abundant and widely distributed from another as coal from one mine may material ; the way to use it can hardly rediffer from that mined elsewhere. main long in doubt.
In practical use the heating value of Of other uses of peat besides fuel, the the best peat fuel is about two-thirds that most common in America are as a fertiof anthracite coal. It burns at first with lizer, and in making cardboard.