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Commission IV - Chemical, physical and biological characteristics of peat

Chairman: Prof. Jürgen Schoenherr
Institute of Process Engineering, Peat,
and Natural Material Research
Zittau/Görlitz University of Applied Sciences
Theodor-Körner-Allee 16
D-02763 Zittau, Germany
phone: +49 3583 61 2304 new!
Fax: +49 3583 61 2300
E-mail: j.schoenherr (at) hs-zigr.de
Web: www.hs-zigr.de/itn

Commission IV aims to obtain data on the physical-chemical properties of peat and to investigate the new possibilities for peat as sources of organic materials. Peat can be processed efficiently into organic and organo-mineral fertilisers, fertiliser mixtures and ameliorants.


Annual Report 2008 - 2010

not received so far

Annual Report 2007

Activities of Commission IV focused on the implementation of the Working Plan for 2007, which included three projects.

Activity 1: Preparation and carrying out of International seminar “European Polesie – economic significance and ecological risks”, which took place on 19 - 22 June 2007 in Pinsk city, Belarus. Honorary member of IPS and academician I. Lishtvan was chairperson of this seminar. More than 120 Ukrainian, Russian and Belarussian specialists took part in the work of the seminar.
The Organizing Committee has selected 100 papers and published in the book “European Polesie – economic significance and ecological risks”, Minsk, 2007, 368 pages (in Russian). Besides that, a guidebook of 72 pages was edited for the field ecological-technical excursion to drained peat soils and peat cutted areas (in Russian).

Participants of seminar paid a especially attention to ecological problems because there are more than 2 million hectares of peatlands in the Polessian region, of which more than 60% are drained for agriculture, forestry and peat excavation. The main ecological problems of Polesian region are connected to degradation of the natural landscapes as a result of drainage of extensive territories covered by peatlands. More than 220 thousand hectares of peat soils are already in degraded condition; the peat layer has been destroyed and sandy soils appeared on the earth surface. This process is progressing and results in large degraded areas in Central Europe with negative economic, social and ecological consequences not only for the Polessian region, but for many Western European countries as well because of the aridization of climate.
It was concluded in this connection that the Polessian region needs efforts of the international community to preserve extensive virgin landscapes and natural peatland complexes from further degradation.

Activity 2: Preparation of a review report on the Peat Congress on the behalf of IPS Commission IV with the title “The use of peat as a raw material for chemistry today and in future”. Authors of this report are N. Bambalov, D. Clarke, A. Tomson and G. Sokolov. It was agreed that Dr. Clarke will present this oral report at the Congress. The color presentation of this report will be ready on 15 - 20 May 2008.

Activity 3: The collection of materials for preparing the book “Methods for Estimation of Physical, Chemical and Biological Properties of Peat” continued.

Annual Report 2006

The activities of Commission IV in 2006 were focused on two directions: to conduct the International Conference “Peat in Solution of Energy, Agriculture and Ecology Problems” and to begin the preparation of the report “Peat as a raw material for the different directions of chemical technology” to be presented at the 13th International Peat Congress in 2008.

Conference in Minsk

The international conference on “Peat in Solution of Energy, Agriculture and Ecology Problems” was held in Minsk, Republic of Belarus on 29 May - 2 June 2006. The organizers of this Conference were the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, the International Peat Society, the State Committee for Science and Technologies of the Republic of Belarus, the Belarusian Republican Fund of Fundamental Investigations, the Ministry of Energy of the Republic of Belarus, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment Protection of the Republic of Belarus, the Ministry of Agriculture and Provisions of the Republic of Belarus, the Ministry of Forestry of the Republic of Belarus, the Ministry of Emergency of the Republic of Belarus, the State Committee of Land Resources, Geodesy and Cartography of the Republic of Belarus, the State Concern for Fuel and Gasification of the Republic of Belarus, the Belarusian National Technical University, the Scientific Counsel for Biosphere Problems of Belarus, the Institute for Problems of Natural Resources Use and Ecology at the NAS of Belarus.

154 participants from 14 countries attended the Conference, coming from: Canada - 1, Czech Republic - 1, Estonia - 4, Germany - 4, Great Britain - 2, Holland - 1, Latvia - 3, Lithuania - 6, Norway - 1, Poland - 1, Russia - 38, Ukraine - 13, United States of America - 1, Belarus - 78. Besides this, 26 specialists (mainly young scientists) from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus participated in the conference without an official registration.

The following problems have been discussed:

• Modern views on structure, composition, physical, chemical and biological properties of peat, sapropel and brown coal. Molecular structure of their humic substances.

• Peat physics and chemistry aimed at the creation of ecologically friendly technologies for peat industry. Control of peat physical and chemical properties in technological processes to increase its efficiency for energy utilization.

• Modern technologies and facilities of excavation, processing and application of solid fuels.

• New peat- and sapropel processing technologies and materials for agriculture, cattle breeding, balneology and environment protection.

• Methods to prevent degradation of drained peat soils, peat and sapropel application for the improvement of agrophysical, agrochemical, biological properties and increase of soil fertility, including degraded, deserted and polluted soils with different granulometric composition.

• Role of peatlands to sustain ecological balance in the biosphere. Physical, chemical and biological bases of peatland restoration and renewal of peat-forming processes on anthropogenically damaged peat deposits. Fire prevention and fire-fighting on peatlands. Preservation of peatlands.

• Besides the plenary and section reports, two field excursions were organized: one of them to rehabilitated areas (more, than 2000 hectares) of peatland at “Grichino-Starobinskoe”, which belongs to “Starobinsky”, the biggest briquette plant in Belarus, and a second excursion to virgin peatlands of different genesis in the Biosphere Nature Reserve “Berezinsky”.

The proceedings of the Conference have been edited and contain 419 pages.

International Peat Congress 2008

On 16 November 2006, a working meeting was held to discuss the content of the report “Peat as a raw material for the different directions of chemical technology” for presentation to the 13th International Peat Congress on behalf of Commission IV. It was decided to ask Prof. Bambalov to prepare the detailed contents or the first version of this report and to discuss it by April 2007, because this problem is multipronged and requires comprehensive discussions by many specialists with different scientific orientation in the fields of peat chemistry (bitumen, carbohydrates, humic substances, lignin, peat sorbents and activated coals, microelements and so on).

Annual Report 2005

International Conference on “Peat in Solution of Energy, Agriculture and Ecology Problems”

All activity of the IPS Commission IV in 2005 was devoted to the preparation of the International Conference on “Peat in Solution of Energy, Agriculture and Ecology Problems” in May 2006. The first meeting of IPS Commission IV dealt with the basic themes of the Conference work.

The following scientific and applied directions were selected:
1. Peat physics and chemistry aimed at the creation of ecologically friendly technologies for the peat industry. Control of the physical and chemical properties of peat in technological processes to increase its efficiency in energy production.
2. Modern technologies and facilities of excavation, processing and application of solid fuels.
3. New processing technologies and materials of peat and sapropel for agriculture, cattle breeding, balneology and environmental protection.
4. Methods to prevent the degradation of drained peat soils, application of peat and sapropel for the improvement of agrophysical, agrochemical, biological properties and increase of the fertility of soils of different granular-metric composition, including degraded desert and polluted soils.
5. Role of peatlands in sustaining the ecological balance of the biosphere. Physical, chemical and biological bases of peatland restoration and the renewal of peat-forming processes on anthropogenically damaged peat deposits. Fire prevention and fire-fighting on peatlands. Preservation of peatlands.
6. International scientific cooperation in the field  of peat and peatland study.

Constituents and sponsors

After selection of the above mentioned directions, conference constituents and sponsors were sought.

The following institutes and organizations will support the conference: National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, International Peat Society, State Committee for Science and Technologies of the Republic of Belarus, Belarusian Republican Fund of Fundamental Investigations, Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment Protection, Ministry of Agriculture and Provisions, Ministry of Forestry, Ministry of Emergency, State Committee of Land Resources, Geodesy and Cartography, State Concern for Fuel and Gasification, Belarusian National Technical University, Scientific Counsel for Biosphere Problems of Belarus NAS, Institute for Problems of  Natural Resources Use and Ecology , Belarus, NAS.

The International Advisory Committee and Organizing Committee, as well as the Conference Secretariat were determined as follows:

International Advisory Committee

Co-chairmen: P. A. Vityaz, I. I. Lishtvan
Vice-chairmen: B. M. Khrustalev, V. F.  Loginov
Members:
M. Mäkelä (Finland), J. Silpola (Finland), J. Augustin (Germany), J. Glinski (Poland), L. Szajdak (Poland),  H. Joosten (Germany), R. Walczak (Poland), A. E. Vinchevsky  (Belarus), I. V. Voitov (Belarus), A. Gneushev (Ukraine), V. V. Karpuk (Belarus), G. I. Kuznetsov (Belarus), V. А. Mironov (Russia), V. A. Orlovich (Belarus), V. K. Pavlovski (Belarus), V. S. Podolyako (Belarus), L. I. Rudinski (Belarus), P. M. Semashko (Belarus), E. F. Tovpenets (Belarus).

Organising Committee

Co-chairmen: А. P. Gavrilchik, B. А. Bogatov
Members: V. F. Baginski (Belarus), B. F. Zyuzin (Russia), V. V. Karpenko (Belarus), А. А. Kovalev (Belarus), N. А. Korotkov (Belarus), V. I. Kosov (Russia), S. P. Kundas (Belarus), V. V. Lapa (Belarus), А. Y. Lupei (Belarus), А. S.  Meerovski (Belarus), А. V. Mikhailov (Russia), N. V. Mikhalchuk (Belarus), M. Е. Nikiforov (Belarus), V. I. Parfenov (Belarus), P. L. Falyushin (Belarus), А. R. Tsyganov (Belarus)
Secretariat: G. А. Sokolov (Belarus), S. Wаrnecke (Finland), N. I. Tanovitskaya (Belarus)

First Circular

The Commission approved the First Circular (Letter № 1) on Commission IV and the above mentioned Committees. This letter was sent to 280 addresses by post, e-mail and fax.

Themes

144 papers were submitted for publication in the Conference Proceedings, dealing with the following 4 directions:
1. The use of peat in energy.
2. Chemistry and chemical technologies of peat.
3. The use of peat fertilizers and peat soils.
4. The use of peat and peatlands in environment protection.
As the conferences main topics are only three, 1. Peat in Energy, 2. Peat in Agriculture and 3. Peat in environmental protection, the papers dealing with chemistry and chemical technologies will be divided among the 3 sections depending on the end product described in the text (sorbent, biologically active substance and so on).

Working Groups

12 working groups have been arranged to deal with organizational matters, such as the registration of participants, meeting of participants in airport, hotel reservations, meeting rooms, organization, technical issues,  catering, excursions, transport from/to airport and excursions,  tickets (train, plane), connection between Organizing Committee and participants, paper review and the Conference Program preparation and edition.

Excursions

Two excursions will be organised: one of them to the big briquette factory “Starobinsky” and its restored peatlands after peat excavation (about 3,300 hectares) and the second excursion to the Biosphere Nature Reserve “Berezinsky”, which has wild peatlands of different genesis with a total area of more than 70,000 hectares.

Participants and papers

Unfortunately, 4 papers had to be rejected: two of them because of plagiarism and two as they did not deal with peat or peatlands. The proceedings, to be published in May, will contain 140 papers. More than 170 specialists wish to participate in the Conference including: Russia 43, Ukraine 8, Germany 4, the Netherlands 1, China 3, Poland 4, Norway 1, Estonia 3, Latvia 2, Lithuania 1.
The members of International Advisory Committee and Organizing Committee will be free of registration fee.

Annual Report 2004

Micro symposia

A micro meeting of specialists from China and Belarus was arranged to discuss physicalchemical transformations of peat and sapropel by technological processes to obtain biologically active substances, sorbents and soil improvers for ecologically clean agricultural production on soils contaminated by oil, pesticides and heavy metals. 14 scientists took part in this meeting. Much success in this branch of peat and sapropel technologies is expected due to the latest results in the study of peat-sapropel compositions and the development of new chemical and photochemical methods of natural polymer destruction.

The second micro meeting, between Poland and Belarus, was devoted to the discussion of methods of investigating the hydrophobic and hydrophilic properties of humic and fulvic acids derived from peat and sapropel. 5 scientists participated in this meeting.

A third “field” meeting was devoted to peatland restoration after peat extraction, including peculiarities of the physical and chemical processes of transformation of the organic material. 28 participants from Russia, Scotland and Belarus participated in this symposium which included visits to four large peatlands areas each at different stages of peatland restoration.

The forth micro symposium, between Ukraine and Belarus, was devoted to greenhouse gas emission and sorption estimations, including the role of peatlands in this processes. 35 participants from Ukraine and Belarus took part in this symposium.

Collaboration on the study of peat properties

We have continued the preparation of the agreement between the Chinese Institute of Geography in Changchung city, the Chinese Institute of Natural Resources and Ecology in Harbin city and the Institute for problems of Natural Resources Use and Ecology in Minsk, Belarus for collaboration in two directions: “Wise use of peat, sapropel and brown coal resources” and “Development of sorbents to obtain ecologically clean yields on soils contaminated by oil, heavy metals and pesticides as well as on degraded soils as a result of the long-term application of mineral fertilizers”. This agreement was signed in summer 2004.

The Chair of IPS Commission IV kindly invites everybody to participate and collaborate on the topics mentioned.

Additionally, Commission IV continues to seek cooperation with colleagues from different countries to establish bilateral or multilateral collaboration projects, such as micro symposia, in:

• Physical-chemical treatment of peat and sapropel for the creation of a special sand structure to stop sand moving under the influence of wind;

• Physical-chemical treatment of peat and sapropel to create new materials for improvement of the structure of desert soils that decrease evaporation and consumption of irrigation water;

• Development of ecologically friendly peat-based means for plant protection against diseases and harmful insects;

• Creation of peat-based materials to clean technological equipment and purify liquids contaminated by radionuclides, for example for current and post-operative nuclear power stations, as well as for purification of city waste waters for secondary use;

• The problems of peat-light interactions: mechanisms of photochemical reactions and perspective of photochemical technologies for peat modifications.

IPS Commission IV hopes that the above mentioned topics are interesting not only for the specialists of countries which possess peat resources, but also for specialists from countries using different peat-based products.

Book “Methods for Estimation of Physical, Chemical and Biological Properties of Peat”

Unfortunately, the collection of papers goes slowly and we have received only 8 articles for date. These deal with chemical and biochemical methods of peat investigations. As this is not sufficient, we will continue and increase efforts to obtain additional contributions.

International Conference “Peat in the Solution of Problems of Energy, Agriculture and Environment Protection”

The conference is planned to be held in 2006. Currently the organisers are looking for sponsors. The following topics are proposed for discussion:

1. Modern views on the structure, composition, physical, chemical and biological properties of peat, sapropel and brown coal. Molecular structure of their humic substances.

2. Peat physics and chemistry aimed at the creation of ecologically friendly technologies of peat production. Control of the physical and chemical properties of peat in technological processes to increase its efficiency in energy production. Technologies for mining, processing and application of solid fuels.

3. New technologies based on peat and sapropel and new materials for agriculture, cattle breeding, balneology and environment protection.

4. Methods to prevent the degradation of drained peat soil, application of peat and sapropel to improve the agrophysical, agrochemical, biological properties and the fertility of soils with different granulometric composition, including degraded and polluted soils.

5. The role of peatlands in sustaining an ecological balance in the biosphere. Physical, chemical and biological bases of peatland restoration and the renewal of peat-forming processes on anthropogenically-damaged peat deposits. Fire prevention and fire fighting on peatlands.

Annual Report 2003

Micro symposia involving specialists from Belarus, Poland and Russia

The first meeting (Poland – Belarus) was devoted to discussions on two problems: “Hydrophobic-hydrophilic properties of peat humic acids and methods of their investigations” and “Concentration of indol-3-acetic acid in different kinds of peat and sapropel and its significance for improving the biological properties of soils.

The second meeting (Poland – Belarus) was devoted to discussions on collaboration in the study of different genetic kinds of organic materials for the management of soil physical properties.
The third meeting and discussion (Ukraine, Russia, Belarus) was devoted to the improvement of the physical and chemical properties of sapropel for the use as an additive to poultry food.
The forth micro symposium (Russia – Belarus) was devoted to the mechanism of carbon dioxide sorption and the role of peat formation in this process.

Organisation of collaboration in the study of peat properties

By means of e-mail exchanges and micro meetings agreements have been reached between the Chinese Institute of Geography and Agricultural Ecology, the Institute of Mires and Peat of the North-East Normal University (Changchung city), the Chinese Institute of Natural Resources and Ecology (Harbin city) and the Institute for Problems of Natural Resources Use and Ecology (Minsk city, Belarus) for collaboration in two directions: “Wise use of peat, sapropel and brown coal resources” and “Development of sorbents to obtain ecologically pure yields on soils contaminated by oil, heavy metals and pesticides as well as on soils degraded as a consequence of long term mineral fertilizer application”.

The leadership of IPS Commission IV kindly invites every interested person or team to participate and collaborate on these topics.

Formulation of additional topics for micro symposia and possible projects

The leadership of IPS Commission IV suggests for the consideration of interested colleagues from different countries the following additional directions as bilateral or multilateral micro symposia and possible project drafts for collaboration:

Highly qualified specialists of IPS Commission IV are ready to elaborate all these directions of the physical, chemical and biological processing of peat and sapropel from both the theoretical and practical points of view results. The leadership of IPS Commission IV hopes that the above mentioned topics will be interesting not only for the specialists of countries, which possess peat resources, but also for countries, which use different peat based products.

Book “Methods for Estimation of Physical, Chemical and Biological Properties of Peat”

Unfortunately, by now, we have managed to collect only six contributions on the chemical and biochemical methods for peat investigations. This is not sufficient and, as a result, it is proposed, with regret, to continue this work next year and to call upon leading specialists for more active participation.

Information and promotion

Belorussian specialists are being encouraged to present abstracts and reports on their work at the International Peat Congress and are being kept informed through newsletters and other publications.

Annual Report 2002

Introduction

The activities of Commission IV were focused on implementation of Working Plan 2002, namely on the following tasks:

  1. Preparation and holding of an International Symposium "Peat Physics and Chemistry to Resolve Ecology Problems"
  2. Elaboration of the content of the book " Methods for Estimation of Physical, Chemical and Biological Properties of Peat"
  3. Development of IPS Commission IV membership.

Peat Symposium in Minsk, Belarus

The purpose of this Symposium was a formal presentation and discussion of peat physics, chemistry and peat-based products within a circle of competent specialists from various states to resolve ecology problems. A total of 250 information letters were sent to all IPS National Committees and to many specialists from different countries, universities, institutes and peat processing plants. The Organizing Committee received 99 abstracts, which were published before the symposium.

The symposium was held on 3 - 7 November 2002 in the city of Minsk at the Institute for Problems of the Natural Resources Use and Ecology of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus. Representatives from 6 countries (Estonia, Holland, Poland Russia, Ukraine and Belarus) participated in the symposium. A total of 232 specialists participated on 4 November, 221 on 5 November and about 70 specialists on 6 November. These differences were due to the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Institute on 4 November and the 70th birthday of Academician I. I. Lishtvan, Honorary Member of the International Peat Society.

The following topics were discussed at the symposium:

  1. Modern views on peat structure, composition and physical properties. Impact of peat-forming conditions on physical and chemical properties of its components. Molecular structure of peat humic substances.
  2. The role of peat physics and chemistry in the creation of ecologically safe peat processing technologies. The control of the physical and chemical properties of peat in technological processes. Heat and mass transfer in peat systems.
  3. Peat-based sorbents, their physical and chemical properties and application to protect the environment.
  4. Enhancement of physical and chemical soil properties, including degradation and pollution, through application of peat- and sapropel-based ameliorants and organic fertilizers. Physical and chemical processes in drained peat deposits and ameliorated peat soils.
  5. The role of peatlands in sustaining ecological balance in the biosphere. Physical and chemical bases for the restoration of peat-forming processes on peat deposits damaged by human intervention.

On the first day of the symposium, Prof. I. I. Lishtvan presented a report on "Peat and sapropel for environment protection". Many other reports were devoted to the formation and management of peat structure, chemical composition of different components of peat and sapropel, oxidative, hydrolytic and photochemical methods for peat and sapropel and the destruction of their humic substances, chemical modifications of peat and sapropel and different technological problems concerning the creation of ecologically friendly materials for environmental protection.

On the second day, Prof. V. I. Kossov presented a report about the creation of ecologically friendly technologies for peat deposit excavation. Prof. I. I. Lishtvan presented a review on earlier published results of investigations regarding the physical, chemical and biological properties of peat, as reflected in the Proceedings of the International Peat Congresses from 1954 till 2000. That report was very successful and Prof. I. I. Lishtvan had to answer many questions.

The other reports of the second day dealt with humic raw material resources, how to turn peat into renewable natural resource, deodorising property of peat and its use for city waste purification, the use of peat and sapropel for the preparation of growing media and soil ameliorants, including soils contaminated by heavy metals, and production technologies for biologically active substances based on peat or sapropel.

The third day was devoted to the protection of peat soils from increasing degradation, and the role of peatlands in global and regional biosphere processes including climate and biodiversity protection. As a new direction for the use of peat and sapropel, it was proposed to produce natural, ecologically pure means for agricultural and forest plant protection from different diseases, insects, fungi and so on.

It is possible to reach a conclusion about two peculiarities of this symposium: first, sapropel is becoming a rather popular and comparatively new kind of raw material for obtaining a number of products for agricultural needs and environmental protection; second, there is a beginning of a new approach for peat and sapropel utilisation to produce ecologically friendly remedies for plant protection from pests and diseases instead of traditional risky pesticides.

After the symposium, there was an excursion to the rural museum complex, where participants were acquainted with ancient architecture, ethnography and popular trade of Belorussian peasants.

Sessions

A meeting of IPS Commission IV members took place on 6 November. Discussions included the content of a planned book on methods for the investigation of physical, chemical and biological properties of peat. This task was estimated as the most important item of the Commission IV activity in 2003, alongside the preparation of the 12th International Peat Congress.

Book "Methods for Estimation of Physical, Chemical and Physical Properties of Peat"

The following contents were suggested:

  1. Methods of sampling from peat deposits, peat stockpiles, and other sources
  2. Methods of estimating the general properties of peat; botanical composition, degree of decomposition, water and ash content, pH-value and others
  3. Methods for estimating the physical properties of peat; dispersion, density, bulk density, mechanical strength, thermal properties, moisture characteristics, heat and mass transfer, optical properties, and others
  4. Methods for estimating the chemical properties of peat; elementary analysis, ultimate analysis, fraction-group analysis, hydrolysable and non-hydrolysable forms of organic substances and nitrogen, carbohydrate and amino acid composition, methods for bitumen, humic and fulvic acid determinations, lignin studies and others
  5. Methods for estimating the biological and agronomic properties of peat; agronomically important forms of nitrogen, labile fraction of organic and humic substances, biological activity, rate of mineralization, fermentative composition, coefficient of agronomic effectiveness, and others

Responsible executive persons are: N. Bambalov, general direction and chapters 1, 2, 4; V. Kossov, chapter 3; G. Sokolov, chapter 5. The separate articles will be prepared by highly qualified specialists from different countries on a free will basis. Anyone, who is interested in participating in the preparation of this book, is invited to contact the Chairman of Commission IV. It is intended that the size, style and general format of the book should be similar to the one on Global Peatlands edited by Prof. Eino Lappalainen.

 

FNS