TCP/CRO/3101 (A) Development of a sustainable charcoal industry

June 2008 Zagreb, Croatia

FAO TCP 3101: Industrial charcoal production 


This publication is a part of deliverables of the FAO project: TCP/CRO/3101 (A) Development of a sustainable charcoal industry

Editors: Dr Julije Domac Dr Miguel Trossero


North-West Croatia Regional Energy Agency

This project was launched in July 2006 within FAO Technical Cooperation Programme withthe objective to assess the current status of the charcoal production in Croatia, in order to develop a programme for the revitalisation of this industry. Apart from recommendations and best solutions for the technological modernisation, the programme will provide guidelines for the production improvement and amplification with a holistic approach.

Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water management is responsible for the project execution on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Croatia.


FAO TCP 3101: Industrial charcoal production 


Project Technical Officer: Dr Miguel Trossero

National Project Co-ordinator:

Dr Julije Domac

Contributing Authors:

Dr Roland Siemons



....................1 CARBO TWIN RETORT ....................6 UNITS ..21 3.......................31 5   ............................................................................4 LAMBIOTTE ...............................FAO TCP 3101: Industrial charcoal production    CONTENTS ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS.....................9 2 CHARCOAL PRODUCTION PROCESSES ................................................7 1..............17 3..........................................2 RAW MATERIAL .......26 LITERATURE .........................................1 ECONOMIC CONSTRAINTS ..................30 ANNEX A ADDRESSES .................1 GENERAL OVERVIEW OF CHARCOAL PROPERTIES .............................11 2......................................14 3 EXAMPLES OF RETORT BASED CARBONISATION TECHNOLOGIES ................................3 O..............................2 WAGGON RETORT .......20 3...........11 2......................................::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::....................6 1 PHYSICAL AND CHEMICAL PROPERTIES OF CHARCOAL ...............................................E...................................17 3.......................................................2 TECHNOLOY DEVELOPMENTS .................................22 4 FUTURE DEVELOPMENTS IN INDUSTRIAL CHARCOAL PRODUCTION ......25 4.....1 KILN METHODS ................T CALUSCO TUNNEL RETORT ....2 RETORT CHARCOAL PRODUCTION .........24 4.......................................................................................................................................7 1.....................................................................

MJ/kg. MJ/kg. h. t) NCV net calorific value (GJ/t.FAO TCP 3101: Industrial charcoal production    ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS AC ash content (-)GCV gross calorific value (GJ/t. d. 8760 h) Volume 3 3 litre m b cubic metre. MJ/Nm ) UNFCCC United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change MC moisture content (-) m mass (g.000 m ) Distance m metre Energy J Jouletoe tonne oil equivalent (41. bulk volume m s cubic metre. K) t time (s. yr) W physical work (J/s) ηenergy efficiency (-) ρ density (kg/m ) UNITS Area 2 3 o 3 3 ha hectare (10.868 TJ)W Watt (=J/s)Wh Watt-hour (3600 J) Mass g gram gx gram of matter at a reference moisture content (MCw) of x %m t tonne (1000 kg) tx tonne of matter at a reference moisture content (MCw) of x %m Temperature o C degrees Celsius K Kelvin Time d day (24 hours)h hours secondyr standard year (365 days. MJ/Nm ) T temperature ( C. solid matter including its pores (apparent volume) Prefixes m milli (10 ) c centi (10 ) k kilo (10 ) G Giga (10 ) 6 9 3 -2 -3 3 M Mega (10 ) 6   . solid matter (bulk volume less voidance) m a cubic metre.

The bulk density of charcoal does not only depend on the apparent density but also on the size distribution. whereas metallurgical charcoal often contains 10-15%m (or even less) volatile matter. and does not crush. is soft and light. February 16.45 t/m a.5929 Croatian Kuna 0. taking ash contents into account. and burns without flame. It is sonorous with a metallic ring. 2007: Currency names Euro US Dollar Croatian Kuna Euro 1 1. that of pine charcoal 0. 7 2 3 3 1 3 3   . it is jet black in colour with a shining luster in a fresh cross-section.” Charcoal intended for barbecue typically contains 20-30%m of volatiles.FAO TCP 3101: Industrial charcoal production    T Tera (10 ) P Peta (10 ) E Exa (10 ) Subscripts 1 with energy units: primary energy 2 with energy units: secondary energy b with m : bulk volume (equal to the specific volume times [1-porosity]) d on a dry basis daf on a dry and ash-free basis e electric G gross M mechanical m with %: mass percent N net p at constant pressure s with m : specific (or true) volume of solid material th thermal v at constant volume v with %: volume percent w on a wet basis Currencies Rates on Tuesday. on the other hand. Charcoal produced from hardwood like beech or oak is heavy and strong. The density of beech charcoal is 0.1785 1 3 3 18 15 12 1 PHYSICAL AND CHEMICAL PROPERTIES OF CHARCOAL 1. nor does it soil the fingers. Charcoal made from softwood.7612 1 5. It floats in water.28 t/m a. The gross calorific value (GCV) is usually in the range of 29-33 GJ/t.3136 7. the fixed carbon content is 78-90 %m.1359 0.1 GENERAL OVERVIEW OF CHARCOAL PROPERTIES The quality of charcoal depends on both wood species used as a raw material and of the proper application of the carbonisation technology. Hence. and is in the range of 180-220 kg/m b. is a bad conductor of heat and electricity. Good quality charcoal was characterized by Chaturvedi as follows: “[It] retains the grain of the wood.3468 US Dollar 0.

Charcoal also contains water. 2/ Cited by Foley (1986). according to EN 1860. Charcoal: Carbon (fix). oxygen. wet basis < 8% Granulation [d > 80 mm] < 10% [d > 20 mm] > 80% [0 mm < d < 10 3 mm] < 7% Bulk density > 130 kg/m b Charcoal briquettes: Carbon (fix). Major quality issues are reviewed in Table 1. Tabel 1. 4/ EN 18602:2005. consisting of hydrogen. dry basis < 18% Moisture. for dry basis values. including the pores. dry basis < 8% Moisture. and nitrogen.volatile matter ash. dry basis > 75% Ash. the amount being dependent on ambient temperature and humidity. Standards for barbecue charcoal and charcoal briquettes. 4 o 1/ kg/m a is the apparent density. dry basis > 60% Ash.FAO TCP 3101: Industrial charcoal production    This carbon is a finely crystalline and practically free of sulfur. In the European Union the quality of barbecue charcoal is specified in standard EN 1860-2:2005. Charcoal also contains volatiles that may escape at elevated temperatures (obviously above the charcoal manufacturing process of approximately 400 C).5-5%m. Approximately. Moisture content varies between 5 %m-8 %m. It assumes the volume of a piece of charcoal. Ash content is approximately 1. wet basis < 8% Granulation 8 3   . 3/ These are dry basis values. fixed carbon = total charcoal .

g. stone powder. wood shavings. Mok and Antal speculate that this is due to the moisture’s role as a catalyst in charcoal formation. Theoretical thermodynamical equilibrium analysis for an ideal process without heat losses shows that the charcoal making process does not require the wood to be dried further than about 50%m (w) prior to the carbonisation process. cotton seeds. In these cases the resulting charcoal needs to be briquetted. etc. To some extent the presence of moisture has a negative influence on productivity. Also. 5 o 5/ As experienced by and hypothesised by Mok et al. Charcoal and Charcoal Briquettes: Inadmissible additions Specific rules for presence of substances like e. one should go beyond thermodynamical equilibrium theory. but also for heating and evaporating all of the water contained in the wood as well. pitch.FAO TCP 3101: Industrial charcoal production    Suitable for BBQ equipment of EN 1860-1 [d < 20 mm] < 10% Binder Combustion gases cause no health hazards in contact with food. and similar products can be used. their residues. 1992) and by Antal and 9   . 1. the basic issue is whether the volatile matter released during carbonisation does not only carry sufficient energy for heating the dry-matter wood to the required processing temperature of about 400 C. The question as to what extent the wood is to be dried prior to carbonisation. such as slabs and off-cuts). in actual practice it was found that the presence of moisture may have strong positive effects on charcoal yield. should be analyzed from two angles: attainable yield and productivity. and its evaporation takes time. plastic. and analyze carbonization at the level of secondary chemical reactions of the vapours released during carbonization. sawdust. but then one has to sacrifice part of the material that otherwise could have been turned into charcoal.2 RAW MATERIAL Both hardwood and softwood can be used as a raw material. To develop an understanding of this phenomenon. Yet another aspect is. Chemical burner sustainers not permitted. This is because the heating of water. Lump wood is used directly from the forest or from wood processing industries (i. glass. However. their wood contains 50%m-60%m water (on a wet basis).: fossil coals and derivatives. bark. nutshells. fruit stones. slag. Binder is of food grade quality. One can also make charcoal from wood at higher moisture contents.e. With regard to yield. corn cobs. that drying always comes with a cost. nuts. petroleum. When trees are being cut.

0 is specific for the wood species.2 are the wet basis moisture contents of the fresh and the dried wood.0 . say MCw. however. and MWw. after having been dried to any moisture content.2. is dependent on the wood species. The mass equivalence of a stère of fuelwood. can be estimated as follows: ρ 8 3 7 s. An MCw of 30% in the wood feed gives good results in the Carbo Twin Retort.0 is the density of the dry solid wood. 6 For the charcoaler. However. If that is not the case. which is equal to 1 m of stacked (outer) volume.FAO TCP 3101: Industrial charcoal production    Grønli (2003).1 and MCw. and on the moisture content of the wood.1 ≈ 1 − MCw. In that case the equivalent mass of a dried stère can be estimated from: 1 − MCw. A stère of fuelwood is estimated at 3 3 0. respectively. This is.” 8 There are thus several opposing effects. whereas a stère of pulpwood is approximately 0. Usines Lambiotte recommend an MCw as low as 10% for the Lambiotte Shaft Furnace.2 065 MC w. and therefore that of the wood input counts. kg 1stereMC w. the mass of the dried stère can still be estimated. A traditional unit for wood is the stère. To make it even more complicated wood volumes are either given as solid volume.72 m s. The density of the dry solid wood.1) does not play a role in the estimate of the dried mass. and the optimum moisture content depends on the technology employed. or as bulk (or stacked) volume. the mass of the output.2 where ρs. Conversion of these units of volume to units of mass.65 m s. while stating that “the details of the chemistry that underlies the improved yields are not understood. under such a circumstance the initial moisture contents and the mass of the “wet” stère should be determined. because the density of the dry wood is supposed to be known. Note that the original moisture content (MWw.2 10   . wood is most often sold in volumetric units. ρs.

65 is based on the assumed voidance of 35% for a stacked pile of fuelwood (Padovani. climate and producer. G. Unless these 11   . volatile matter content and ash content are parameters that are different with producer and production technology. Premery. J. France. Yield is generally defined as the mass ratio of charcoal made and biomass fed: m Yield = charcoal m biomass feed However. For a pile of wood chips. E. Also the fixed carbon contents. is yields.1 6/ Mares. Personal communication to Antal and Grønli (2003). and technologies are characterized in tems of economics and other parameters. both charcoal and biomass feeds can be of varying qualities..28).FAO TCP 3101: Industrial charcoal production    mass2 = mass 1. 1 − MC w. Padovani substitutes a voidance of 28% (and thus a factor of 1-0. A particular topic that needs some discussion to enable a proper technologyevaluation. 10 2 CHARCOAL PRODUCTION PROCESSES In this chapter.8/ The expression disregards shrinkage of solid wood upon drying.7/ Padovani (2002).g. The factor of 0. moisture contents vary with lot. 2002). 1999. operating principles are being discusse. Usines Lambiotte.

FAO TCP 3101: Industrial charcoal production    quality parameters are further specified. but it has been abondoned during the first half of the 20 century. sand and mud. Beehive kilns can be found in large industrial complexes. a yield is quite meaningless as an indicator of a technology. however. and Brazilian Beehive kilns... managed by Horner Charcoal Company (Taneyville. Smith et e. both in developing countries and in industrialized countries.1 KILN METHODS Traditionally.g.holzkohlewerk.10/ Aucamp. Missouri). and there can be contamination with ash. At least one example of a set of Missouri kilns was found to be currently in operation. Yields are usually in the range of 5%-20%. these claims are seldom related to the moisture content of the wood. The technology is still widely used. Over the past century the kilning technology has been improved. carried out emission tests for the following traditional 12 th 11 10 9 9/ Violette (1853). In practice.". Carbonisation rates (or the Cfix content) differ. thefixed-carbon content of the charcoal. So. Also the quality of the charcoal thus manufactured is variable. There is a direct contact of the combusted pyrolysis vapours with the biomass feed (internal heating). . Köhlerei Jatznick 12   . were widespread up until 1975 and later. However. only few research has been reported in which this statement is underpinned. http://www. Argentine kilns. In the USA this technique was also widely used for the manufacture of metrallurgic charcoal. Some examples of such improved kilning techniques are Missouri kilns. Already Violette (in the 1850s). observed that "extremely good charcoal yields are commonly claimed by South American charcoal producers. and they vary with the skills of the operators. 2. With the kiln method. In Germany: Holzkohlewerk Lüneburg (Hamburg. Aucamp (1979)11/ Some German and Austrian charcoal manufacturer advertise this technology. The range of yields and qualities is narrower (tending towards higher yields and better qualities) for the improved kiln methods. Kilning methods for charcoal making are a strong emitter of polluting gases (mainly unburnt methane and other carbon compounds). charcoal is being made in mound or pit kilns.. part of the feedstock is offered to start and control the process. at least in the state Missouri. one should be aware that claims of high yields should be carefully evaluated in view of these quality aspects. made note of this issue. Missouri kilns. Also the improved kilning techniques are widely used today. making charcopal for the steel in dustry in Brazil.

the Missouri kilns operated by Horner Charcoal Company were facilitated with an after-burner system.12/ 500 Missouri kilns were reported by Deglise and Magne (1987).e.FAO TCP 3101: Industrial charcoal production    (Jatznick.holzkohle. Earth Mound. Improved kilning techniques do involve substantial investments. Also improved kilning methods were studied by 15 14 13 Figure 2. In 2004. 13   . Traditional mound kiln in Liberia (Photo: Roland Siemons. www. i. Rice Husk Mound. Productivity is also low. Emissions to air were also reviewed by the USA Environmental Protection Agency. 1 1 kilning methods: Mud Beehive.koehlerei-jatznick. www. There is not much capital involved in mound and pit kilning technology (apart from labour and feed stock). InAustria: Johann Hochecker. 1992). the Brick Beehive and a Single Drum. to reduce polluting emissions to an acceptable level under the USA EPA regulations. (

et al. 15/ Source: Environmental Improvement and Energy Resources Authority (Missouri Department of Natural Resources).mo. (Source: EPA. Montana (USA) Figure 4. 14/ EPA (1995). Emission Factor Documentation for AP-42. P. Beehive kilns in Canyon Creek. Pennise. http://www. Figure Khummongkol. Section 10. D. (1999).dnr. A Missouri kiln.7 Charcoal) 14   .FAO TCP 3101: Industrial charcoal production    13/ Smith. Wise River Ranger District. M.html.

the production of these by-products is no longer viable in view of of the competition with other manufacturing processes. Badger-Stafford Process (no longer in use). the Pyro rotary furnace (being demonstrated). 15   . as firms who employ them halt their production over time. For the carbonisation of biomass grains. Degussa Retort (Reichert Retort). An implication is that knowledge of the processes fades away.g.E. for start-up and in case of feed material that is too wet. Carbo Twin Retort. O. such as saw dust or nut shells.FAO TCP 3101: Industrial charcoal production    2. charcoal yields from retort processes can be very high. In these retort processes. There are many methods of implementing the retort principle. Only the vapours are used to provide the energy sustaining the process. Today. VMR (no longer in use) and the O.T Calusco). before being combusted. the pyrolysis vapours are separated from the feed material. such as acetic acid. e. or through direct contact with the combusted pyrolysis vapours (Lambiotte. In this manner it ensured that the entire biomass feed is available for the conversion into charcoal. However. Direct contact of the biomass feed with oxygen from air is being prevented. Some indicative names of existing (or commercially lost) retort processes for the carbonisation of lump wood are: Arkansas or Waggon Retort. the wood feed is either externally heated through a shell (Carbo Twin Retort. Exceptionally additional fuels are used. Waggon Retort. Degussa). Most of them have been developed by the charcoal producers themselves. wood vinegar. If carried out properly.E. the development of retort technologies in the past may have had other reasons than yield optimization alone: separation enables the manufacturer to produce a variety of chemicals. and few of them are commercially offered.2 RETORT CHARCOAL PRODUCTION Most modern industrial charcoal makers use retorts for their process.T Calusco Tunnel Retort. SIFIC Process and the related Lambiotte Retort. the following indicative names are found: Herreshoff Furnace (storey furnace). Antal’s flash carbonisation technique (in the R&D phase). In a retort. and methanol.

16   .7 Charcoal. Emission Factor Documentation for AP-42. EPA. The retort principle for carbonization. A continuous multiple hearth kiln for charcoal production (Source: EPA. Figure 6. 1995. Section 10.FAO TCP 3101: Industrial charcoal production    Figure 5. Washington.

whether they are in operation today. 1990) Carbo Twin Retort Carbo Twin Retort O.E.FAO TCP 3101: Industrial charcoal production    Figure 7. Mortera (I) Prémery (France) Belgium Less S. high capital investment In Europe. high quality Pollution: gases are burnt during the process. and whether the technology can be supplied. Chemviron). thus preventing the release of noxious gases Spare energy may be available for steam generation or for drying Stationary.T Calusco (tunnel retort) (ITB) Lambiotte Shaft Retort Batch Retort 3 EXAMPLES OF RETORT BASED CARBONISATION TECHNOLOGIES In this chapter. Green-Charcoal. Bodenfelde (DE) Waggon Retort (since early 1900) Carbo Twin Retort (since appr. (CZ) ProFagus (former Degussa. Of some 17   . A continuous rotary retort (Pyro 7) (Source: Pro Natura International.A. retort carbonization technologies are used by: Belišće (HR) Carbo Group (NL) Green Coal Estonia (EE) Carbo France (FR) Milazzo. Important criteria for their selection are. some retort based carbonisation technologies are described. As it turns out. the application of these criteria shall take some time. December 2004) Retort charcoal production technologies are characterized by: Mechanised production 20%-30% yield of charcoal by weight Controlled.

The latter is being discussed here. are combusted to heat-up another vessel freshly loaded with wood. The direction of gas flows is swithched by making use of valves. The pyrolysis vapours released from one hot carbonizing vessel. 10. When removed from the Carbo Twin Retort. The production steps are shown in Figure 10. Senegal. Singapore. are placed in a sand lock and left to cool for a period of 24 hr. and as supplier of briquetting and carbonization equipment. When. An oil burner is used to provide heat for initial process start-up.1 CARBO TWIN RETORT The Carbo Twin Retort was developed by Ekoblok/Carbo Group. 3 16 18   . Nigeria. Continuously operated. and replaced by another that has been filled with fresh wood. Therefore. The Carbo Twin Retort (for a sketch. one Carbo Twin Retorts needs a total of 6 vessels to keep the system running (and more. The Carbo Twin Retort system is currently in use several countries: the Netherlands. South Arica. if the vessels are used for pre-drying). Its capacity is determined by the number of batch runs that can be carried out in a given period of time. If the wood is sufficiently dry. e. Ghana. This operating principle is sketched in Figure 9. For hard wood it is approximately 900 tonnes of charcoal per year. the carbonization cyle of which are effectively operated in counter-phase. that vessel removed. after several hours the latter has reached carbonization temperature and emits pyrolysis vapours suitable for combustion. Carbonisation of one vessel takes 8-12 hr. as chrcoal trader.g.FAO TCP 3101: Industrial charcoal production    technologies it is not immediately clear if they can be delivered by a technology supplier. 3. which is active as briquette and charcoal manufacturer. The Carbo Twin Retort is a semi-continuous production module. This chapter therefore deserves an update later. see Figure 8) is loaded with two 5 m vessels containing the wood feed. Estonia. the charcoal in the first vessel is ready. The process is to be repeated interminably. external energy source are not needed except for initial start-up. vessels now containing charcoal. Oman. France. one vessel is to be removed every 4 hours (6 vessels per 24-hours) from the Carbo Twin Retort. depending on wood properties.

Cross-section of the Carbo Twin Retort. Exhaust gas Exhaust gas 19   . Figure 8.FAO TCP 3101: Industrial charcoal production    16/ For a full address see Appendix A.

is 30% or higher. 20 o   . This is because the vapours are completely combusted into CO2 and H2O. The Carbo Twin Retort is fed with wood that has been cut to sizes in the range of 30x30x10cm. the Carbo Twin Retort technology is very low on emissions to air. such as CH4. The temperature of the exhaust gas from the Carbo Twin Retort is about 580 C. The charcoal yield. and suitable to drive a thermal wood dryer. complying with EN 1860. In comparison with kilning technologies for charcoal production. CO and higher C-compounds is negligeable. The optimum moisture content is about 30% (wet basis). Thus the emission of other polluting gases.FAO TCP 3101: Industrial charcoal production    Figure 9. Operating principle of the Carbo Twin Retort.

supervision and operating costs.000 1. the technology performs well. Indicative cost estimate for a Carbo Twin Retort system. The system is also known under the name of Arkansas Retorts. During the late 19 th th and early 20 centrury it was widely used in Europe and the USA. The Waggon 1 9 Retort system was particularly noted for high maintenance costs of the steel waggons and the shell of the retort itself. 3. complying with the strict Dutch emission regulations. Waggon Retorts are suitable for a variety of feed sizes.E. which showed lower overall operating costs. Units Unit cost (€) Costs (€) Open building Carbo Twin Retort 3 360. in view of obtaining project finance. The complex operation and the changing heat exposure of the various plant components result in relatively high maintenance.T CALUSCO TUNNEL RETORT 21   .000 60. The wood is charged into steel waggons with slatter sides. may be a relevant issue.2 WAGGON RETORT The Croatian firm Belišće operates a Waggon Retort system. if the technology is replacing traditional kilning technology. piece length may be upto 1 to 1. The process lost ground due to the development of semicontinuous systems like those of Lambiotte and Degussa.000 Fork lift with rotator 1 60. The avoidance of GHG emissions.000 5.000+ x 3.FAO TCP 3101: Industrial charcoal production    Also in terms of particulate emissions.000 Total 1.080. The wood should be dried to about 25% moisture content for good results. The waggons roll into and are removed from the retort on steel rails which connect with a cooling chamber of the same dimensions as the retort and built directly facing it so that the waggons after carbonisation can be drawn quickly into the cooling chamber and sealed for cooling. including roundwood. Tabel 2.2 metres. split roundwood and slabs from sawmilling.145.000 Hoist and rail 1 5. The waggons fit the dimension of the retort rather closely. The minimum number of sets of retorts and coolers to ensure a steady supply of wood gas for retort heating is six but much larger numbers were not uncommon. An indicative cost estimate is given in Table 2.3 O.

is divided in three chambers where the wood successively is being 1) dried.E. and from various sources it has been confirmed that the firm currently no longer in existence. The total residence time within the tunnel is 25-35 hours. Wood is put in 12 m trolleys that are moved through a tunnel. The operating principle. The technology is said to be developed by I.T Calusco Tunnel Retort has been described in the literature. Another part is used to indirectly heat the carbonisation chamber (via a heat exchanger). Impianti Trattamento Biomasse in Calusco d’Adda (Italy). but its operation could not be confirmed in the course of this project.T. showing a large resemblanc with the Arkansas waggon retort.4 LAMBIOTTE The largest operational Lambiotte Retort was located in Prémery (France). and said to be operational in at least two places: Milazzo and Mortera. When still in production.000 tons/year of charcoal each. the Prémery plant produced 25. It was closed down in 2002. The tunnel. The third part is cooled and used to prevent the cooling charcoal from ignition. 2) carbonized and 3) cooled. One part drives the the drying chamber where it is in direct contact with the wood feed.B. the hot combustion gases are separated into three.000 tons/year of charcoal from oak wood in 22 17   . 20 3. varying with the characteristics of the feedstock used. producing 6. The walls of the trolleys are made of perforated steel. 3 Figure 11.T Calusco Tunnel Retort system. is shown in Figure 11. The chambers are separated by a door. The carbonization vapours are removed from the carbonization chamber and combusted in an external furnace.E. operated by the Société Usines LAMBIOTTE. O. From there.FAO TCP 3101: Industrial charcoal production    The O. 45 m long.

a homogeneous quality of wood feed is essential. Another part is cooled and re-injected at the bottom of the retort for cooling the charcoal. Both systems have two closed gas-loops. one for the drying/carbonisation stage and one for the cooling stage. The remaining gas is burnt in a combustion combustion chamber. The SIFIC process can be run with by-product recovery. the condensable fraction is taken through coolers and scrubbers. The carbonization vapours are removed through the top of the retort. The Lambiotte process being continuous. the wood passes a drying zone. to serve as a heating medium for drying and carbonisation. One part of the combustion gases is injected in the middle of the retort. On its way down. In the SIFIC variant. 23   . the SIFIC and the CISR system. and the moisture content should be below 25% (wet basis).FAO TCP 3101: Industrial charcoal production    two shaft retorts. Wood enters the retort from the top through a lock-hopper. The wood should be prepared into lieces of about 10 cm. the carbonisation zone and and a charcoal cooling zone. Further enquiries are being made (particularly in Belgium)whether the Lambiotte technology can be supplied from elsewhere. to remove certain commercial components. The Lambiotte carbonisation process consists of a continuously operated shaft furnace. There exist two variants of the Lambiotte process.

22 4 FUTURE DEVELOPMENTS IN INDUSTRIAL CHARCOAL PRODUCTION In a final chapter we review possible trends that apply to the charcoal making industry. To this end we look into the development of end-user markets. and into the options for improving the charcoal making 24   .FAO TCP 3101: Industrial charcoal production    17/ Latest available address in Appendix A.

charcoal is likely to be phased out as a common cooking fuel. whether it can be offered attractively in the market has not been analyzed nor demonstrated yet. the position of charcoal would be based on two properties: its biological origin (and thus its suitability as a sustainable carbon-neutral fuel) and its potential of contributing to the politically desired diversification of supplies. pure silicon. and refining copper. Alternative products that could serve the same energy market include pyrolysis oil and wood pellets. The product is not yet commercially offered at an industrial scale. for tempering. Just a few examples taken from a presentation for the UNFCCC: 22 18/ Including the production of ferrosilicon. Here. With ongoing development of these developing countries.1 ECONOMIC CONSTRAINTS The traditional markets for charcoal are: Metallurgical industries Purification (active coal) Barbecue in industrialized countries Household cooking in developing countries. although a 2 MW pilot plant is currently being built in Uganda and is planned to be operational in fall 2008. mainly in urban areas In the first three markets. Charcoal is also usedas a carburizing agent. These markets are gradually growing. charcoal could become an alternative for mineral coal and fuel oil. Torrefied wood is also occasionally mentioned as an alternative fuel product. charcoal is not the only product that can play this role. for descaling of metal sheets and wires. In this market. The prospective developments of existing markets are not likely to trigger innovative technologies. 21 20 19 18 Wood pellets are traded as a biomass substitute fuel for coal in electrical power plants.FAO TCP 3101: Industrial charcoal production    technology. The position of charcoal as a household fuel in developing countries is largelydue to its suitability as a relatively clean fuel for urban environments (moderate local emissions) and its low costs for the end-user (also taking into account the low-costs of the appliances needed for its use). including fuels for the electricity sector. Charcoal is also used 25   . A new market for sustainable industrial fuels A new market for charcoal could be that of industrial fuels. The potential of pyrolysis oil for the energy market was elaborated by Siemons in 2002. the role of charcoal is based on its unique properties that cannot be easily replaced by alternative products. ferromanganese. However. 4. However.

50% Charcoal (lump) 29 200 5800 1. . Danish power plants used 570. and 910. M.5 650 11400 0. On the other hand. review is not currently available. In 2006. (2006a)and (2006b). See.FAO TCP 3101: Industrial charcoal production    in blast-furnaceprocesses.5 130 1890 5% Straw pellets 15 600 9000 5% Wood chips 10. e. A comparative study is not known. and that charcoal is less attractive than pellets. K. 2 3 Unit 2 (510 MWe) of Avedoere Power Station in Denmark combusted 300. E. 20/ Siemons (2002).2 1300 22400 0. also The Netherlands are substantial importers.. its usage could be more attractive than pellets. Some trading properties of bio-fuels in comparison with mineral coal. handling.50% Wood pellets 17. So. for power plants and industries such as cement works. 21/ The plant of Clean Fuels Kakira Ltd. et al. This is equivalent to an effective power of 420 MW (assuming a conversion efficiency of 45% and 7000 full-load equivalent operational hours annually). pyrolysis oil is the most attractive biomass derived fuel. Additionally. especially if theyare supplied from within the region.J. 23 A published market These fuels are suitable for trading because of their ease of application (storage.000 t of wood in the form of pellets and chips. suggests that in terms of transportation costs. An unsubstantiated source claims the existing European consumption of 8 million tonnes of pellets annually. Denmark is not the only European country that produces and imports biomass pellets as a substitute for fossil fuels. Indicative parameter values are given in Table 3. A comparison of energy density. combustion).000 t of wood pellets in 2001.000 t of straw pellets annually. as a biomass fuel treatment technique (low-temperature carbonization) has certain advantagesin view of energy use for fuel preparation (drying.22/ Gert Schultz (Energi E2 . charcoal is less costly to pulverize than pellets.10% Coal 25 1000 25000 13% Development of the market for sustainable industrial charcoal-based fuels 26 3   .5 300 3200 0.J..5% Pyrolysis oil 17. 3 Fuel typeNCV (MJ/kg) Density ( kg/m b) Energy density Ash (d) (MJ/m b) Straw 14.g. Tabel 3. Unit 2 (82 MWe) of Amager Power Station in Denmark combusts 150. Ptasinski. this argument only applies when large transportation distances are involved. pulverization).Denmark).000 t of pelletized straw.g. will supply local industries with pyrolysis oil as a substitute for Heavy FuelOil. Prins. 19/ Torrefaction. as well as their cost-effective calorific value and density.

FAO TCP 3101: Industrial charcoal production    might stimulate a particular development of carbonization technologies. It is not known whether there is an interest in scaling up the Lambiotte system to even larger capacity. The analysis will not be made here.mainetoday. provided the charcoalers are well-skilled in their trade. or processing yield (reducing operational costs)? 23/ http://pressherald. as well as the wood acquisition risk for larger carbonization plants. Henrich and Dinjus (2003) Scale-economy Lambiotte (Belgium) offers systems of 2000 and 6000 t of charcoal annually.. the preferred characterisitics of lump charcoal. Granualation in sizes below or above certain sizes and a specific fixed carbon content. at Carbo’s own production facility). After all.g. Larger plants using the Carbo Twin Retort operate multiple retorts in parallel (One operator handles 10 of them.g. Schenkel (1998) argued that high yields are also feasible by means of ml24/ E. e. do not apply to fuels used in the industrial fuel market. One of the parameters that provides a counter indication against scale-up is the increased costs of raw material (wood). Carbo Group systems of 1000 t/a. The Carbo system cannot be scaled up easily (being a balanced systemconsisting of two batches operated in counter-phase). there is a distinct difference in yield between traditionalkilning techniques (usually in the range of 5%-20%) and industrial retorting techniques(20%-30%). This would be particularly caused by specific preferred product properties. with regard to simplification (reducing capital costs). Yield As discussed in previous sections. Note that this indeedappears to apply if the issue of the fixed carbon content of the charcoal is properly taken intoaccount (as discussed in Chapter 2). Details are given in several papers written by Henrich et al. 24 4. 27 25   .com/business/stories/070415woodpellets. as being used in the barbecue market. is the manufacture and trade of slurries from charcoal and pyrolysis oil. scale-up (realizing economies of scale). as in the norms for barbecue charcoal (EN 1860) are not an issue here. proposed by the Karlsruhe Research Centre FZK. A promissing industrial concept. Whether scale-up can actually result in improved economies of scale is a question that cannot be answered without a thorough analysis.2 TECHNOLOY DEVELOPMENTS May further developments of carbonization technologies be expected.

(1998). C (graphite). a theoretical approach should be quite complicated in order to be valid. and their ownthermal analyses and experiments. since we observe that this charcoal consists purely of fixed carbon in the formof graphite. Antal and Grønli (2003). and physical structure vary strongly with process characteristics and raw material .However. Bertaux et al.26/ Antal. there are ambiguities that arise immediately.7% (being the mass ratio of 3. For a processing temperature of 400 C and a pressure of 1 MPa (10 bar). But still . and reported in two scientific papers.3 analyse the reaction thermodynamically. Upon carbonization. They reviewed past research. like for commercial charcoal. does a piece of wood simply disintegrate into charcoal and vapours that are gone. and conclude that the yield of charcoal would be 27.FAO TCP 3101: Industrial charcoal production    Whether the achievement of higher yields is technically feasible. At first sight. although the issue seems to be simply this: what are the improvements in yield that we may expect from further R&D?. A clear over-simplification of the matter was presented by Antal and Grønli (2003) by a determination of the equilibrium products of cellulose pyrolysis at varying pressure and temperature (Figure 13). We cannot agree with Antal and Grønli that this would be an indicator for “the theoretical carbon yield” of the carbonisation process.08 CH4 25/ Schenkel. or should one also consider secondary carbonization reactions of vapours that result in precipitation of fixed carbon? Clearly. they arrive at the following molar and mass balance (it is not a reaction mechanism!): C6H10O5 6 0. An intriguing question concerns the role of secondary vapour reactions for the formation of charcoal.65 H2O +1. one would perhaps approach the issue as follows:1 define the raw material and the product. because the equilibrium calculations of Antal and Grønli are not based on a chemical reaction model.: How is the product defined? Charcoal is broadly determined as a product that contains fixed carbon at a ratio larger than 70%. but the precise chemical composition. was investigated by Antal andco-workers. One could propose to extend the model by allowing an incomplete reaction (prior to achieving equilibrium). The maximum theoretical charcoal yield would then become 37% (= 27.2 define the thermal production conditions by pressure and temperature.7%/75%). Assessing the maximum theoretical yield is not a simplematter.17 CO2 + 1. so that a fixed carbon content of 75% results.e. The relevance of those reactions is supported by a host of scientific reports. Mok. and this was also recognized by Antal and Grønli. H2O. 28 o 26   . Varhegyi and Szekely (1990).74 C + 2. i. but merely on the thermal equilibrium of their own postulated final products ( this the theoretical maximum? It is hard to say.74 mole of carbon per mole of cellulose). CH4 and CO).

Results of the equilibrium model of cellulose carbonization. and thus is caused by secondary vapour reactions contributing to charcoal yield. Instead.FAO TCP 3101: Industrial charcoal production    Figure 13. Antal and co-workers considered a large number of parameters. In view of the results of their equilibrium model for graphite formation (compare Figure 13). . They do draw that conclusion (‘high pressure. that the reported effect is the result of increased vapour residence time that may occur in a high-pressure test device. We shall not summarize the entire discussion here. it is surprising that Antal et al. the reader is referred to the indicated papers. hence high yield’) though on the basis of their interpretation of experiments. Therefore. conclude that it would be favourable to increase processing pressure above 1 bar. by Antal and Grønli (2003). but at least the results obtained by Violette (1853) (in view of the test procedures employed by him: carbonization in a sealed glass tube) are perhaps best explained in this manner. do not discuss that hypothesis. Antal et al. we put forward that favourable reaction circumstances for carbonization are these: Slow vapour removal from charcoal matrix Vapour exposure to high-temperature charcoal Options for optimised 29   . In their reviews. It seems possible.

R. Reported results. W.r3. but rather because of the prolonged vapour residence time that can be achieved in a closed reactor vessel. and technology of charcoal production. Varhegyi and T. J.. J. Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards. Review of Methods for Improving the Yield of Charcoal from Biomass. U. Antal. Foley. J. L. Paredes. S. The art. EPA. in Hall. London. It is described on a website. Eng. EN 1860-2:2005 Appliances. 2003. G. Energy & Fuels (An American Chemical Society Journal). Eds. In any case. Emission Factor Documentation for AP-42. 1986. 28 LITERATURE Antal. from the data reported in the referred paper). Large Scale Charcoal Technology. Flash Carbonization of Biomass. and Antal. pressurized with air at 10 bar. Szekely. V Encontro Nacional de Florestadores. G. Environmental Protection Agency. 4. Grønli. M. p 1. are an average charcoal yield of 34% an average fixed carbon yield of 29%. still remains to be seen. Pyrolysis and Industrial Charcoal. Mok.: Charcoal Making in Developing Countries. Biomass. Mochidzuki. 42. 3690-3699. Washington. 221-225. not so much though in view of increased reaction pressures. 1995. 2003. Res.hnei.. Deglise.asp#newsitem. solid fuels and firelighters for barbecuing. Earthscan. and Magne. 30 27   . Jr. X. and L. 1987. jr. Section 10.O. jr. Chem. In brief. Antal. 42. 3 May / June 1990. New York. and in a paper. K. H.. at the Renewable Resources Research Laboratory (Hawaii Natural Energy Institute). Emission Factor and Inventory Group. Requirements and test methods. and Paredes (2003). Mochidzuki. Barbecue charcoal and barbecue charcoal briquettes.hawaii. it seems an interesting R&D route. 27/ http://www. and M. Chem. M.. L. D. Gramado & Canela. Eng. S. Ind. Whether this Flash Carbonisation process is the answer. S. and ignited electrically.. and an average energy efficiency of 60% (derived by the author of this report. Aucamp. Such results are not yet very dramatic in comparison with state-of-the-art industrial carbonization technologies. Res.P. the concept consists of a vessel packed with biomass.FAO TCP 3101: Industrial charcoal production    reactor configuration are then: Closed container Vapour flow control The first of these optimizations is indeed employed by Antal.7 Charcoal. Ind. . so far. 1979.. 1619-1640. in the so-called Flash Carbonisation process. science. P. M.

in Bridgwater. . Heidenstam. jr. Dinjus. Eng. CPL Press: Newbury." Journal of Analytical and Applied Pyrolysis 77 (1): 35-40. (1998). Mok. Violette. S. EPA-600/R-99-109. (2006). M. 1999. Siemons. et al. Y. 20-24 May. _and_science/mitigation/application/pdf/eu_schultz. High-Pressure Synthesis Gasfrom Biomass. Ann. PhD thesis. M. Formation of Charcoal from Biomass in a Sealed Reactor. Ptasinski." Energy. Szabo. and Borbala Zelei. G. Phys. Bangkok. Antal. ANNEX A ADDRESSES CARBONISATION EQUIPMENT Carbo Group b. http://unfccc. Chem. Project GCP/RAS/173/EC. P. I. 2003. et al. M. et al. Bertaux. Chim. 32. "An evaluation of the mound kiln carbonization technique. Klason. Ind.. E.. M. Prins. E.. Ed.Denmark)." Biomass and Bioenergy 14 (5-6): 505-516. Simulation. W. Faculty of Economics and Econometrics. Tar-free. K. G. Pennise.J.17th International Conference on Efficiency. Bedrijvenpark Twente 168 7602 KE ALMELO Netherlands 31   . 1162-1166 Padovani. 1205. E.31. 1992.v. EC-FAO Partnership Programme (2000–2002)... P. Z. Ptasinski. 25. Mémoire sur les Charbons de Bois.J... Greenhouse Gases From Small-scale Combustion Devices in Developing Countries: CharcoalMaking Kilns in Thailand.. In Pyrolysis and Gasification of Biomass and Wastes. Angew. Environmental Protection Agency. A. Washington. (2002).. 2002.J. Prins. in: Proceedings of the Workshop and Training on Forest Product Statistics.J. 1853. Universiteit of Amsterdam. Amsterdam. "More efficient biomass gasification via torrefaction. ECOS 2004 . V. and Environmental Impact of Energy on Process Systems 31 (15): 3458-3470. "Torrefaction of wood: Part 2. Die trockene Destillation der Cellulose. Schenkel.. Khummongkol. pp 511-526. Modern biomass utilisation. M.pdf. Schultz. R.J. Varhegyi. P. Smith. UK.. et al.V.FAO TCP 3101: Industrial charcoal production    Henrich... A development perspective for biomass-fuelled electricity generation technologies . Analysis of products. (Energi E2 . K. (2006). Norlin. Untersuchungen zur Holzverkohlung. P. K.. Costs. Res. 304. R. Chem. The Measurement of Forest products.economic technology assessment in view of sustainability. 1909.. D. F. G.

Av.brand@carbo. Dr. Zdenko Jaki Belišće France ETS CALLEGARI CHRISTIAN Chez FAURE 17130 COURPIGNAC France Phone : +33 5 46 70 30 57 Fax : +33 5 46 49 71 39 Girondine de Carbonisation 33680 LACANAU France Phone : +33 5 56 03 56 30 Fax : +33 5 56 03 55 92 Navarre 32 32   .holzkohle. Cvrčovice .dreveneuhli.b. s. Steinholz 23 A-3263 Randegg Tel: (07487) 8410 Mr.horvat@bj.T.tcom.o. des Aubépines B-1180 Brussels Belgium Tel. Mario Horvat KRIŽEVCI .html Mr. 18.o.Czech Republic Tel: +420 777 320 730 Tel: +420 573 391 118 macik@less. Ferde Kerna 8 HR-48260 Križevci Tel: 048 / 71 45 94 Fax: 048 / 71 45 94 Mr.Pavel Svoboda EKOGRILL. : +32 2 Mr Johann Gruber Johann Hochecker Kleindurlas 13 A-3074 Michelbach Tel: (02744) 8556 hochecker@aon. Svačića 15 HR-43280 Garešnica Tel: 043 / 44 50 21 Tel: 098 / 43 61 27 Tel: 043 / 53 14 94 Tel: 098 / 23 95 69 Fax: 043 / 53 14 94 Mr Johann Hochecker Czech Republic LESS a.31.volny.r.Miroslav Macík Mr. d.B. P. Via San Rocco 818 24033 Calusco d’Adda (Bg) Italy Tel : +39 035 791 800 Fax : +39 035 794 068 Email : www.65 Fax : +32 2 375. Hajo Brandt Lambiotte & Cie S.Karla Čurdy 119 CZ-27341 Brandýsek Tel: 313 564 732 Croatia HORMAR www.FAO TCP 3101: Industrial charcoal production    Tel: +31546570462 Tel: +31653449505 Fax: +31546570604 Email: CHARCOAL MANUFACTURE Austria Gebrüder Gruber Gesellschaft m.55 E-mail : mail@lambiotte. Rajnochovice 276 768 71 .cz www.s.

D-50935 Köln.FAO TCP 3101: Industrial charcoal production    Route Nationale 134 40420 GAREIN France Phone : +33 5 58 51 41 64 Fax : +33 5 58 51 63 44 Chemviron Carbon 58. (0221) 480-0.o.r.holzkohlewerk.koehlerei-jatznick.s. a. gabriele. Jaroslava Maceková EUROSLAT s. Avenue Wagram 75017 PARIS 17 France Phone : +33 8 00 80 28 52 Fax : +33 8 00 10 07 12 Ets Rousseau et Fils 24270 DUSSAC France Phone : +33 5 53 52 61 50 Fax : +33 5 53 52 28 16 Carbo France EURL 55290 MONTIERS SUR SAULX France Phone : +33 3 29 75 98 80 Fax : +33 3 29 75 88 83 Bordet Frères 21290 LEUGLAY France Phone : +33 3 80 81 81 69 Fax : +33 3 80 81 84 40 Usines Lambiotte Halted 3 Rue Auguste Lambiotte 58700 Premery tel : 0386377200 fax : 0386377225 Germany proFagus GmbH Uslarer Straße 30 -371 94 Bodenfelde Telefon +49 55 72 1 94 4-0 .sk www. www.schmitz-holzkohle.Fax +49 55 72 I 94 4-1 31 Heinrich Schmitz Hocksteiner Weg 62 D41189 Mönchengladbach Telefon: (02166) 958565 info@schmitz-holzkohle. Still active? Skačany 189 SK-95853 Skačany Tel: 33   .de Köhlerei Jatznick Rothemühler Chaussee 2 D-17309 Jatznick Holzkohlewerk Lüneburg Plan 6 20095 Hamburg Director: Bernd Eichin Tel: +49-40-3233200 www.: (039741) 80892 koehlerei. Hajo Brandt Slovakia SLZ CHÉ Hlavná 133 SK-98111 Hnúšťa Tel: 047/5422104 Tel: 047/5422165 Fax: 047/5422552 Herr Heinrich Schmitz Rheinbraun Brennstoff Ing. Tel. Bedrijvenpark Twente 168 7602 KE ALMELO Netherlands Tel: +31546570462 Tel: +31653449505 Fax: +31546570604 Email: Peter Diers Netherlands Carbo Group b.

sk Ivan Hudec FINEKOS. s.B.r.1 SK-01701 Považská Bystrica Tel: 042/4322960 www.paliva.FAO TCP 3101: Industrial charcoal production    038/7488136 euroslat@stonline. Dušan Divko TENDER SLOVAKIA s.A. Vihorlatská 1412 SK-06901 Snina Tel: 057/7750477 Tel: 0903/239635 Robert Petřík 34   .euroslat. Kragujevská 12SK-01001 Žilina Tel: 041/5622625 www. Podmostie č. Jana Turanová PALIVÁ spol.r.r.o.o.o.

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