Charcoal production is the oldest technology of mankind. It is charcoal initiated the development of civilization. The charcoal demand has grown, so it is now produced by many manufacturers. Environmentally friendly and cost-efficient installations are designed and implemented. Any technology, if it is developed correctly, will be environmentally friendly and energy efficient. This also applies to the production of charcoal. Today about 9 million tons of charcoal per year is produced in the world. The technology of charcoal production on the one hand is relatively simple, and on the other hand is quite unique. It requires some knowledge and a certain culture of production. It's time for new technologies, new equipment for charcoal production, experience and knowledge that can help to successfully implement the right technology for charcoal production and find the right application for it.
Obtaining of products from wood using the action of high temperature was related to the oldest technology of mankind. According to the facts of archaeological diggings, even cavemen were familiar with charcoal. It was taken from post-fire places or made in a special way by strewing burning charcoal with ash. Cavemen used it as smokeless fuel when hiding in a cave from bad weather. Probably the first metal was smelted by accident when the stones, which were laid around the fireplace with burning coals, turned into ore. Since the beginning of the Bronze Age charcoal has been initiated the development of civilization.
It is noteworthy that the peoples of Africa nowadays use charcoal for cooking and produce it by a special tradition. There are two technologies of charcoal production that are used in our time: pit and heap method. These types of charcoal production do not require any materials, additional raw materials, except firewood, turf and water.
In our time, about 9 million tons of charcoal per year is produced in the world. More than 7,5 million tons of this amount is produced in Brazil. According to statistics, a little more than 100 thousand tons per year is produced in Russia due to the large number of forests. The consumption of charcoal per capita in European countries exceeds 20 kg per year, n the Nordic countries it is 25 kg, in Japan - more than 60 kg. In Ukraine this figure is less than 100 grams.
There are several types of charcoal. It is associated with the various charcoal production technologies and characteristics of raw materials. For example, in Japan the demand is growing on the so-called "white" coal. Technology of its production consist in the using of far eastern iron oak. Foreign companies mostly use "red coal" as fuel for fireplaces and grills. It is obtained by means of soft charcoal burning at low temperature. The best raw material for charcoal burning is hard wood. More solid and dense charcoal is formed from it. In modern conditions, the raw material for the charcoal is waste of softwood, aspen, shrub. If charcoal is produced by developed technology and is briquetted, then it can be obtained a high quality charcoal. The technology of charcoal production is relatively simple, but it requires a certain culture of production. In order to obtain charcoal from wood, which will be useful for further use, it is necessary to burn the wood without oxygen. In other words this process is called “wood pyrolysis“.
There are many different installations and structures required for this process. Basic construction is a bucket with a lid. Chopped wood is placed in a metal bucket, closed tightly by lid, and then it is calcined on the fire. Wood is heated and a resin and volatile (combustible) gases are formed. It is necessary to consider their withdrawal.
For the charcoal production it is required mobile or stationary charcoal kiln. Wood is a raw material for charcoal production. Birch is considered the best raw material to use. The finished products can be packed and shipped to the stores or supplied as wholesale product for further processing and packaging.
Charcoal is a unique material that has been fully appreciated only in the last century. It is almost 100% composed of carbon that can be used in a variety of fields. Charcoal is used in metallurgical industry, in the production of activated carbon, in agriculture. But, of course, the first coming to mind application – it is in the household conditions. Abroad the wood isn’t practically used in pure form for cooking on the grill. The constantly growing market of household charcoal indicates the transition to the same fuel in our country.
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