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1. (WO2018037165) COMPOSITE STRUCTURE AND A METHOD FOR PRODUCING THE SAME
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Claims

1. A composite structure, characterized in that it comprises in intimate mixture essentially through the whole composite structure:

- peat fibers, peat particles or peat agglomerates or mixtures thereof, that have been obtained from horticultural peat by fractionation or by producing from peat fines; and

- polymer fibers,

which composite structure has been heat-treated to bind the polymer fibers to each other and to stabilize the peat fibers, peat particles, peat agglomerates or mixtures thereof in place in the composite structure.

2. The composite structure according to claim 1, which is porous and non-layered throughout.

3. The structure according to claim 1 or 2, which is produced by air-laid forming.

4. The composite structure according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the polymer fibers comprise polyester fibers, preferably bi-component polyester fibers.

5. The composite structure according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the polymer fibers comprise biodegradable or compostable polymers, such as PLA or PHA.

6. The composite structure according to any of the preceding claims, comprising peat fibers, peat particles or peat agglomerates at least 50%, preferably from 80 to 90% based on the dry weight of the composite structure.

7. The composite structure according to any of the preceding claims, further comprising other natural fiber or natural material, preferably selected from the group consisting of moss, pulp fiber, carbon, wood fiber, flax, reed canary grass, coconut, hemp.

8. The composite structure according to any of the preceding claims, having a density of from 30 to 120 kg/m3, for example from 60 to 100 kg/m3.

9. The composite structure according to any of the preceding claims, which is a growth medium or a part thereof.

10. The composite structure according to any of the preceding claims, which is a thermal or sound insulation board or acoustic panel or oil absorption plate or biological water filtration plate or a part thereof.

11. A process for the production of a composite structure by air-laid forming, characterized in that:

- a mixture is formed comprising in intimate mixture peat fibers, peat particles, peat agglomerates or mixtures thereof and polymer fibers;

- the mixture is spread as a layer on a screen; and

- the layer is heat-treated to bind the polymer fibers to each other and to stabilize the peat fibers, peat particles, peat agglomerates or mixtures thereof in place.

12. The process according to claim 11, wherein the peat fibers, peat particles or peat agglomerates have been obtained by fractionation from horticultural peat.

13. The process according to claim 11, in which the peat agglomerates have been produced from peat fines.

14. The process according to any of the preceding claims 11 to 13, wherein the layer after the heat treatment is pressed to the desired thickness, for example to a thickness of from 10 to 300 mm, preferably to a thickness of from 50 to 120 mm.

15. The process according to any of the preceding claims 11 to 14, wherein the density of the finished composite structure is from 30 to 120 kg/m3, for example from 60 to 100 kg/m3.

16. The process according to any of the preceding claims 11 to 15, wherein the finished composite structure is porous and non-layered throughout.

17. The process according to any of the preceding claims 11 to 16, wherein prior to heat treatment, one or more of the following are added to the peat fibers, peat particles, peat agglomerates, polymer fibers, mixture and/or layer: wetting agent, fertilizer, humic acid, lime.

18. The process according to any of the preceding claims 11 to 17, wherein the polymer fibers comprise polyester fibers, preferably bi-component polyester fibers.

19. The process according to any of the preceding claims 11 to 18, wherein the length of the polymer fibers is from 10 to 50 mm.

20. The process according to any of the preceding claims 1 1 to 19, wherein the proportion of polymer fibers in the mixture is from 5 to 50 wt-%, preferably from 10 to 20 wt-%.

21. The process according to one of the preceding claims 11 to 20, wherein the mixture further comprises other natural fiber or natural material, preferably selected from the group consisting of moss, pulp fiber, carbon, wood fiber, flax, reed canary grass, coconut, hemp.

22. The process according to any of the preceding claims 11 to 21, wherein the heat treatment is carried out at a temperature that is maximally equal to the attachment temperature of the polymer fibers or their outer surface.

23. The process according to any of the preceding claims 11 to 21, wherein said mixture and the composite structure obtained comprises at least 50% of peat fibers, peat particles or peat agglomerates based on the dry weight of the composite structure.

24. Composite structure obtained by the process according to any of the preceding claims 11 to 23.