Charcoal is Made from Wood

Charcoal and other solid biomass fuels are used in 70% of households in sub-Saharan Africa. African countries face fuel supply problems, and charcoal remains essential for many households since petroleum fuels and electricity will likely remain too expensive. 

Charcoal is Made from Wood

Charcoal is King in Africa.

In Bujumbura- Burundi’s capital city, charcoal is the primary cooking fuel across all social layers of the population. Costing more than liquefied petroleum gas, charcoal expenditure is a substantial share of the households’ income.

Charcoal is a big business in Africa. Africa produced 62 percent, 32 million tons of charcoal 2017; a large percentage was used for cooking food. In 2011, The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that around 2.6 billion people cook using open fires or simple stoves fuelled by kerosene, biomass, and coal.

Charcoal production, which takes place in rural and peri-urban areas to satisfy urban demand, generates income for millions of people in Africa below the Saharan Desert. In some rural areas, as many as 6% of people are employed in charcoal production, with few alternative employment options. The issue with charcoal being the main fuel supply in Africa is deforestation. 

Charcoal is made from wood; about five tons of timber generally produces one ton of charcoal. Therefore, charcoal making can only be an ongoing industry where the raw wood material resource is managed to provide a continuous supply. For every person in a community who uses charcoal for heating and cooking, about 1 acre of the natural high forest has to be set aside to provide that wood supply forever; this is not sustainable. 

Forests cover nearly 23 percent of Africa’s land surface, and five countries, DR Congo, Sudan, Angola, Zambia, and Mozambique, account for half of this forested area. Forests and trees in Africa also account for 23 percent of global carbon stored in forests, and deforestation and forest degradation account for 30 percent of Africa’s greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to warming.

Charcoal is the solid residue remaining when the wood is carbonized and pyrolyzed under controlled conditions in a closed space. In Africa, charcoal is necessary to purify drinking water, build a fire, and dehydrate food since electricity and refrigeration are still unavailable to over half of the continent. You are wrong if you think charcoal is only suitable for one thing, such as grilling. 

However, if you're talking about store-bought charcoal, that can only be used for grilling. Using store-bought charcoal is perfect if you want to grill a juicy steak, a hamburger, or fresh corn. But if you are doing anything other than cooking, you need to make your own. Charcoal-making methods vary greatly, but the earth barrier method is the oldest, back to the dawn of history in Africa.


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