Fundamentals of char production

Charcoal production is basically the transformation of virgin (often wet) biomass into charcoal by heating in the absence of air. Charcoal production (or carbonisation) Is one of various pyrolysis processes. Essential for all these processes is a confined surrounding with little or no air present and a heat source to reach the necessary temperature. 

The first step in the carbonisation process is drying of the biomass which starts at low temperature (ca. 100 °C). This is followed by thermal breakdown of the biomass at increased temperature starting at 200-250 °C up to the final carbonisation temperature. During this dissociation the structure of the biomass changes, large molecules are broken into smaller ones and evolved in the form of gas. The gas mixture contains CO, CO2, H2O but also larger hydrocarbons and tars. In traditional charcoal processes these hydrocarbons and tars cause the black smoke, typical smell and are hazardous to both environment and health.



The CharcoTec technology aims at the removal of the disadvantages of traditional charcoaling without introducing “new” disadvantages for the local economies on terms of less employment, too high capital need and dependency on imported materials. At the same time however it does bring the advantages of the modern technology in terms of higher efficiencies in terms of yield of the input material, potential use of other than wood materials as a source and thus less deforestation. It also will prevent environmental and health damage by capturing the nasty vapours, combusting them and so reusing the otherwise lost energy content in it, thus reducing fuel cost of the car coal process.


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