The petroleum crisis of the early 1970's led to a national reevaluation of alternative energy resources within the United States. One neglected energy resource that is in abundant supply in many parts of the country, including North Carolina, is peat. In addition to its common use as a soil conditioner, peat can be used as a fuel for direct combustion replacing coal and as a chemical feedstock in the production of synthetic gasoline, gas, and alcohol. (U.S. Department of Energy, 1979; Punwani and Weatherly, 1980).
Because the location, thickness, quantity, and quality of peat deposits of the United States was known only in a general way (Soper and Osbon, 1922; Cameron, 1973; Farnham, 1980), the U.S. Department of Energy started a program in the late 1970's to inventory the fuel-grade peat deposits of the United States. The work presented in this report results from field work from 1979 to 1983 supported by grants from the. U.S. Department of Energy and the North Carolina Energy Institute.