The principal application of peat in Canada remains in horticulture where it is used mainly as a growing medium. Peat stimulates plant growth and root development by improving the structure of the growing media. It also increases soil buffering capacity and prevents the leaching of fertilizer nutrients. Peat can loosen clay soils and improve their porosity making it a choice ingredient in potting soils.
Peat can be used as an eco-friendly absorbent to clean up hydrocarbon spills both on land and at sea. By undergoing a thermal treatment, peat can be made water-repellent. The procedure gives peat the ability to repel water while still absorbing hydrocarbons!
Biological air cleaning processes are popular due to their efficiency and low cost. Biofiltration consists of using the microorganisms present on filtering media such as peat to transform the molecules that cause odours and release gaseous pollutants, for example, NH3, H2S, CH4. This type of biofilter can be used on composting sites and in agricultural processing plants.
The unique properties of peat make it an effective biofilter in wastewater treatment systems. Because Sphagnum peat moss is a stable and very porous fibrous material, it filters the effluent that percolates through it and accelerates the biodegradation of wastewater residues.
Because well decomposed peat has a high thermal capacity, it is ideal for massage therapy: it promotes relaxation and stimulates the bloodstream. It also provides the benefits of trace minerals, vitamins, carbohydrates, polyphenols, lipids and humic acid.
Peat uses elsewhere in the world
In some countries peat can be used as a fuel, notably in Finland, Russia, Ireland, Sweden and Eastern Europe (USGS 2012).