Charcoal

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Information about charcoal.

Contents

Topics

Benefits

Issues

Deforestation

Charcoal may be produced from trees cut in a manner that leads to deforestation or forest degradation.

Organizations

Events

2007

News

  • Biowaste briquettes fuel drive to save trees, 22 February 2011 by SciDev.Net: "Banana stems, maize and other crop waste will be turned into charcoal briquettes in Uganda in an effort to reduce the number of trees chopped down for cooking fires."
    • "The project, funded by the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), will train 600 farmers across the country to make briquettes using portable metal kilns that can be moved between farms, according to Maxwell Onapa, deputy executive secretary of the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology (UNCST)."
    • "A lack of modern and affordable fuels, such as gas, electricity and solar power, makes wood charcoal and firewood the preferred sources of domestic cooking fuel, but this is damaging the environment through deforestation and soil degradation, said Onapa."
    • "Frank Muramuzi, executive director of the National Association of Professional Environmentalists, warned: 'The project may not be sustainable because if they run out of the agricultural waste to manufacture the charcoal briquette, people will go back to cutting trees.'"
    • "But Jane Nalunga, a senior training officer at the National Organic Agricultural Movement of Uganda, said that removing agricultural waste and turning it into energy will reduce soil nutrition."[2]
  • Haiti's Rebuild May Be Biochar's Big Breakthough, 4 March 2010 by TreeHugger: "Biochar, the 'co product' of burning wood or agricultural waste in a pyrolitic (oxygen free) environment, has garnered both praise and criticism for its possibilities as a CO2 sequestration tool."
    • "WorldStoves, a company that makes a number of pyrolitic stoves, has partnered with the NGO International Lifeline Fund and a private Haitian company to bring its 'Lucia' stove designs to Haiti. In Haiti, the use of wood for charcoal for home cooking needs is widespread, which has led to a continuing cycle of deforestation and soil [degradation]."
    • "What makes the Lucia stove so magic is that a Haitian woman or man could cook for a five-person family using just about 300 grams of twigs, groundnut shells, rice husk or dung."
    • "[If] biochar is included in the UN's Certified Emission Reductions (CER) and Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) schemes, creating it in cookstoves and sequestering it in soil could help Haiti economically as well."[3]
  • Charcoal trade threatens gorillas, 12 December 2009 by UPI: "The habitat of rare mountain gorillas in the Democratic Republic of Congo is being threatened by charcoal production, officials said."
    • "Thousands of kilns mounded from dirt within the 3,000-square-mile Virunga National Park produce charcoal for rebel forces. The park is home to about 200 endangered mountain gorillas."
    • "To break the reliance on charcoal, villagers and refugees are being urged to use presses, paid for by the Rwandan wildlife service, that turn...leaf mulch, rice husks and other organic waste into fuel briquettes".[4]
  • Africa's burning charcoal problem, 25 September 2009 by BBC: "[A]ccording to the Tanzania Association of Oil Marketing Companies, 20,000 bags of charcoal enter the capital Dar es Salaam every 24 hours....But the impact of this unregulated...trade is chilling."
    • "Aid agency Christian Aid estimates that 182 million people in Africa are at risk of dying as a consequence of climate change by the end of the century....One adaptation option for Africa is to keep her forests standing so that they provide essential environmental services such as carbon sinks".
    • "But Africa has not been very good at this....According to the UN the continent is losing forest twice as fast as the rest of the world."
    • "Wood and its by-product charcoal are, unless radical steps are taken, likely to remain the primary energy source for decades....Additionally, charcoal is a lucrative business..."[5]
  • Here comes the latest utopian catastrophe: the plan to solve climate change with biochar, 24 March 2009 by George Monbiot, columnist for The Guardian: "Biomass is suddenly the universal answer to our climate and energy problems. Its advocates claim that it will become the primary source of the world's heating fuel, electricity, road transport fuel (cellulosic ethanol) and aviation fuel (bio-kerosene)....Now an even crazier use of woodchips is being promoted everywhere....The great green miracle works like this: we turn the planet's surface into charcoal."
    • "Now we say biochar. The idea is that wood and crop wastes are cooked to release the volatile components (which can be used as fuel), then the residue - the charcoal - is buried in the soil. According to the magical thinkers who promote it, the new miracle stops climate breakdown, replaces gas and petroleum, improves the fertility of the soil, reduces deforestation, cuts labour, creates employment," etc.
    • "The energy lecturer Peter Read proposes new biomass plantations of trees and sugar covering 1.4 billion ha....Were we to follow Read's plan, we would either have to replace all the world's crops with biomass plantations, causing instant global famine, or we would have to double the cropped area of the planet, trashing most of its remaining natural habitats."[6]
  • 'Green coal' to get a tryout, 13 January 2009 by The News & Observer.
    • "North Carolina is about to become the nation's test case for what marketers call 'green coal' -- wood that has been baked into charcoal. If successful, the experiment -- a partnership of sorts between Progress Energy, N.C. State University and an Asheville start-up -- could mark the end of the state's reliance on dirty coal."
    • "The wood has to be treated in an industrial oven until it turns to charcoal. It remains to be seen if the experimental ovens can mass-produce charred wood of a uniform quality that won't clog power plants sensitively calibrated to burn coal."
    • "The process of torrefaction is so experimental that it has only been tested in a power plant once, in the Netherlands in 2005, for a 24-hour period. Even if power plants can burn the fuel successfully, electric utilities won't sign long-term contracts for charred wood if they lack confidence they can count on steady supplies. Currently there are no commercial suppliers in the world." [7]


Charcoal edit

Char (Agrichar/Biochar) (International Biochar Initiative)
Bamboo | Wood charcoal
Soil carbon sequestration

Solid biofuels edit

Solid biofuels: Wood | Char/Charcoal | Biomass pellets
Technologies: Co-firing power plants

Types of bioenergy edit

Gases: Biopropane | Biogas | Synthetic natural gas | Syngas
Liquids: Biodiesel | Biobutanol | Biogasoline | Biokerosene | Biomass-to-Liquids (BTL) | Dimethyl ether (DME)
ETBE | Ethanol | Methanol | Pure plant oil (PPO) | Pyrolysis oil | Synthetic Natural Gas
Solids: Biomass pellets | Char/Charcoal | Wood


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