Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Bord na Móna
Bord na Móna (lit. Peat Board) is a semi-state company in the Republic of Ireland, created in 1946 by the Turf Development Act, 1946. The company is responsible for the mechanised harvesting of peat, primarily in the Midlands of Ireland. Extensive bogland is exploited in County Offaly and County Westmeath, mainly the Bog of Allen. The company was originally established in 1933 as the Turf Development Board, Limited, to manage this relatively plentiful natural resource. During WWII it was necessary to stockpile peat as a fuel, as coal was in short supply, – this cemented the drive for mechanised peat harvesting.
Peat was traditionally manually harvested by operating cutaway bogs . This method (still privately used today) consists of sods being vertically cut from the side face of a peat deposit. Technology was derived to mechanically cut and remove layers of peat from blanket bogs . Today equipment is used to remove tonnes of peat each day at suitable times of year (rainfall is a significant variable in peat harvesting).
Bord na Móna have developed a number of products which were novel developments in their time. Today peat briquettes replace sods of raw peat as a domestic fuel. These briquettes consist of shredded peat, compressed to form a virtually smokeless (once lit), slow-burning, easily stored and transported fuel. Another product developed was peat moss, a combination of peat and earth for use in the garden - particularly to pot plants. The company also supply the remaining peat to power stations of the Electricity Supply Board.
An extensive network of narrow gauge railway is operated by the company in the midlands. It is often taken up and relaid as various plots are harvested or left aside. Some smaller sections of railway are used in other bog locations, for example in County Donegal. Bord na Móna has an extensive 1200 miles 3 ft network, which has carried up to 5 million tons annually, and is larger than the main network (passenger and freight) operated by Iarnród Éireann. Bord na Móna has one of the largest industrial railways in Europe. Part of the old railway in Clonmacnoise, County Offaly is now the Clonmacnoise and West Offaly Railway (colloquially the "Bog Train") having been set up to give the public a tour around part of the bog.
The company are responsible, under government action, for reclaiming spent bogland. These areas of land are usually cleared up, with trees or other suitable vegetation being introduced. Reclaimed bogland is then usually used as a wildlife preserve. Much of the bogs of Ireland have been depleted, it is likely that most peat fired electricity stations will be closed within 25 years, Rhode Power Station near Kilbeggan, County Westmeath had its cooling towers demolished on March 16, 2004 as it was no longer viable.
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