Tropical Peat for Energy
Posted by dedenia72 on August 13, 2009
Energy is essential to modern society, as we know it. Over 85% of our energy demands are met by the combustion of fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are the lifeblood of all societies around the world. Fossil fuels, including liquid petroleum (oil), coal, and natural gas, are non-renewable sources of energy.
Indonesia as one of the oil exporting countries, at the present time has to find other energy sources to substitute for petroleum oil, because the fossil fuel reserve in Indonesia is becoming less and less but the demand about it is growing daily. This is also an important reasons why countries all over the world (especially industrical and developed countries) are concerned to find other sources which could producing energy.
The use of peat for energy sources had long history. It have been starting since World War II (WEC, 2001). Peat was still regarded as an important fuel in many European countries until the 1950s and many large development programs were undertaken in Ireland, Sweden, Germany, Denmark, Finland and member states of the former Soviet Union. In the 1960s, owing to the availability of cheap oil and coal, the competitiveness of peat as a fuel and the role of energy peat began to decrease in these countries, except for Ireland and the Soviet Union. Entering the 1970s, although fuel prices had started to increase this did not turn back the above European countries to increase their energy peat utilization. The only European country to adopt a national energy peat development program thereafter was Finland, in 1971. Some studies in Canada and the USA carried out in 1970s and 1980s show that owing to the availability of cheap oil, natural gas, and coal, peat is not competitive as a source of energy.
Considering the success of peat utilizitation as an energy source that developed by other countries before, and supported with fact that Indonesia having big amount of peat deposits (up to 27 million hectares) available, Indonesia has a strong intention to get energy from peat. However, the origin and hence characteristics of tropical peat are quite different from that of peat in the temperate zone. It’s become important reason to considering before taking next step.
Based on the above, the intention of Indonesia to utilize peat for energy seems to be out of step with the recent attitude of those countries peat deposits. In addition, there is quite a strong disagreement over the idea of using Indonesian peat for energy. From the environmental point of view, it should be taken into consideration that some careless reclamation programmes of peatland in Indonesia have caused terrible environmental problems. For example, experiences in Indonesia show that a disturbance or change to peatland can cause acidification of the environment, drought, fire, etc.