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Production of charcoal in modern conditions

Charcoal is a high-carbon microporous product which is received during a pyrolysis of solid wood in special charcoal kilns. Receiving a charcoal by a method of an impact of high temperatures is one of the oldest technologies. Even cave people had used this product by getting it on sites of fire or preparing by themselves. Most probably, firstly metal was made accidentally, when ore in fact was stones, which were used for facing a fireplace with smouldering charcoal. Charcoal, by becoming one of the bases of development of civilization in the beginning of the Bronze Age, has become very popular in a ferrous metallurgy and other fields, including a food industry.

In Russia, charcoal had been making long since, even a special profession existed for this work, which was familiar and popular in Europe in Asia. Charcoal was sold in mat-bags. The earliest methods of producing charcoal are heap and pit charring. These technologies were so primitive that no other materials except water, firewood and turf hadn’t been needed, but it took 3-4 weeks for all this process. As well permanent control was needed and decomposition products, which formed up to 2/3 of initial mass of dry wood, went to the atmosphere. Mass production of charcoal by these methods was possible only in 17th-18th centuries, when a population density was low enough and a lot of territories weren’t mastered. However, still in a lot of places all over the world charcoal is produced with a help of these methods.

Since 19th century, people for getting charcoal started to use brick furnaces. For the first time they appeared in the Urals, when a Demidov’s cast-iron production began to develop.  Petersburg and Moscow were supplied with a cast iron, which was made on Urals’ factories, which was working on charcoal.

Wood actively was spent for producing charcoal, whole forests were cut down around cities. Finally, a tsar Aleksey Mikhailovich decided to ban a cutting down of forest around Moscow for preventing a disappearing of forests.

Charcoal production

After establishing of Soviet authority, an industry came into decline and producers were forced to get back to a  pit charring. However, it lasted a short period, and the biggest charring factories were built soon (Amzya, Verhnyaya Sinyachiha, Moloma, Syava), which produced big quantity of charcoal.

New development of charcoal production has started in an afterreorganization period, when there was no control of cutting down or ecology situation. Entrepreneurs set up metal furnaces, which are called “barrels”, “pans”, “rockets” and so on, cut down forests overall and produced charcoal of low quality, which, nevertheless,  was very popular. Tons of harmful waste were thrown into the atmosphere.

Today a new stage of charcoal production development stage has come, and charcoal began to be applied in different areas of national economy. Nowadays charcoal has next use:

  • As a fuel for fireplaces, braziers, hookahs and so on. In contrast to ordinary fuel (for example – firewood), charcoal doesn’t produce a smoke and open flame, but only gives a necessary temperature – a heat. Moreover, for preparing different dishes you don’t need to wait when firewood will burn out, because a charcoal is a ready fuel.
  • In industry. Charcoal can be used in non-ferrous metallurgy (i.e. for receiving an aluminum, a boron and so on); in production of pure silicon, which are used for production semiconductors; in chemical industry; in metallurgy, i.e. as a restorer (there are a lot of oxygen in charcoal). In production of glass, crystal, paints, electrodes, plastics. During charcoal receiving liquid side products are formed as tar, which can be used for production of turpentine, food acetic acid, methyl alcohol, alcohol solvent and so on.
  • As feed supplement in animal husbandry.
  • In construction. As an insulting material in construction, because charcoal is very hygroscopic and a good absorber.
  • As anticorrosion powders and greases. Charcoal is used in instrumentation and printing production, where it uses for grinding and polish parts and forms.
  • In production of a smoky powder. In production of a smoky powder usually is used charcoal from an alder and buckthorn with 72-80% contents of oxygen.
  • In production of electrocharcoal products. These products are used in a lot of areas of national economy. It used in electrics of various engines, in electric cars, for thermal purposes, in electrovacuum equipment and so on. It is all types of charcoal resistance, different contacts, brushes, products for equipment, connection and a lot of other items.
  • As filler for plastic. In plastic charcoal can replace an expensive and rare graphite. Charcoal, as it was said, is a low-ash material, very pure in terms of impurities. It is resistant to chemically aggressive environment and heat-resistant enough. Raw charcoal has high electrical resistivity.
  • As a raw material for production an activated carbon. Activated carbon is porous carbon pieces, which create a significant surface for flowing sorption process after contact with gaseous or liquid environment.

Hadicraft charcoal-burning plant can`t provide product to the market, because:

  • Process of charcoal producing depends on external factors, as a result, unstable supply of raw material to customers. Weather conditions (a lot of time for heating in winter, for getting cold in summer and so on), emissions don’t allow to stay indifferent either a local population or authorities that become a reason for extraordinary stoppages. An absence of approval documentation also becomes a reason for high fines and systematical inspection by all possible instances.
  • Low quality of received charcoal. Because of uncontrolled process charcoal forms with a high content of small fraction (up to 40%).  Physical and chemical indicators of each batch have a significant difference. Low mechanical fraction leads to situation when finish consumer, in spite of screening of charcoal, receives charcoal with a high content of small fraction (less than 20%).
  •  High consumption of wood for one ton of product.
  • Safety regulation discrepancy. “Hellish” harmful conditions don’t allow to involve good service staff. As a result, problems with staff appears (unstable attendance, drinking alcohol and so on).
  • Exploitation is impossible near localities because of huge emissions. Problems with logistics and impossibility of packaging of charcoal also exist.

Environmental pollution

There is only a little part from all reasons why handicraft production of charcoal is unprofitable and lead to finishing of production and great loses. It is necessary to organize literacy managed, eco-friendly production, which can provide needs of big companies. Charcoal companies’ building are not only reasonably but also are necessary.

Use of charcoal

Charcoal for needs of national economy can be produced from lump wood waste, firewood and briquetted waste of plant origin. So, in fact raw material for its production is substandard wood and other plant waste. With a help of this method, expenses on raw material will be at a minimum level and a cost price of end-product will be low towards market price.

High profitability, “free” raw material, but where is a trick you can ask. Actually, there are a lot of tricks here:

Firstly, it a lot of cases, when charcoal is produced illegally and with a help of technologies which are used during thousands years (it is not a metaphor).

Secondly, consumer wants to receive a charcoal with high quality index and producer – a high percent yield of conditioned charcoal, but it is impossible by using old technologies.

Thirdly, handicraft production is ecologically dangerous, that make it impossible to use it near workforce.

Fourthly, working conditions of this production are “hellish” and non-safety for staff.

This list can be filled with many other problems.

“Green power” has developed and launched equipment for charcoal production since 2001. In 2009 a charcoal-burning kiln of new generation EURO was launched.

Among advantages of kiln, first of all, it is useful to note that it:

  • Is eco-friendly
  • Has high productivity
  • Doesn’t need a lift mechanism (cathead, telpher and so on)
  • Has high quantitative and qualitative indexes of charcoal
  • Is practical for transportation
  • Can be automized on 90%
  • Is compatible with filling machine
  • Is need only two people for one kiln
  • Has low energy consumption
  • Has low price
  • Is compact
  • Has remote control of kiln’s mode
  • Has minimal expenses on production
  • Has possibility for receiving additional thermal energy.

A possible capacity with using CK EURO can be in the range from 30 to 300 tons of  high-quality charcoal per month.

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