American Peat Technology harvests, dries and granulates reed-sedge peat. On the harvest field, the peat is nearly saturated with water and looks much like fibrous top soil. By the time the peat leaves the APT production facility, it has been transformed into a granular material that looks like freeze-dried coffee and has a moisture content of about 12 percent.
On the Harvest Field:
The production process starts in the summer months. A portion of the 480 acre harvest area is continually cultivated to accelerate air drying, and the semi-dry peat is pushed into windrows. Each year, about 3 inches of peat is taken from the surface of the area under harvest. In 2014, APT started experimenting with a new method that involves harvesting the peat to the maximum permitted depth. The new method uses less energy inputs and allows for the staged restoration of the harvest area, but is currently only used on a limited portion of the field until final assessments can be made.
The harvest continues during the winter months. Snow is plowed from the bog roads, which allows the frost to drive deep enough to support the large trucks needed during the haul effort. The trucks transport the windrowed peat one mile to the production plant, where it is added to a pile designed to hold four years of reserve material. The pile is continually cultivated to minimize precipitation infiltration during the summer months while maximizing evaporative losses. In general, air drying is effective at reducing incoming peat moisture content to about 80 percent.
Drying one pound of peat from 80 percent down to 12 percent requires large amounts of energy, so APT is constantly seeking ways to produce heat in efficient and environmentally-friendly ways. The primary source of energy for drying is solid fuel biomass. High pressure extrusion and further drying eventually produce a granular microbial carrier that meets our customers’ specifications.
APTsorb, APT’s water remediation media, is manufactured from the bioAPT products. The patented process revolves around a heat treatment step that gives the media granular strength in wet applications while retaining many of the sorption characteristics of the parent peat. The APTsorb media can be chemically modified to provide other specialty media for specific applications.