Charcoal is one of the oldest forms of fuel that we are using for centuries. It’s made from wood and is obtained by heating wood to extreme temperatures. If we see the ancient technology, it was made by
building a fire in a pit, then submerging it into the mud. It results in partial combustion, where water and impurities get removed, and we get the pure carbon. In simple terms, charcoal is nothing but half-burnt wood.
The use of natural wood charcoal dates back to 30,000 BCE. Archaeological pieces of evidence also prove that. Since it is cleaner and burns better and hotter than wood, smelters used it for melting iron ore. Egyptians used it to create bronze near about 3750 BCE. Also, by 1500 BCE, they started using it to treat intestinal ailments. On the other hand, ancient Hindus discovered its antiseptic properties and also used it to purify water. Moreover, activated charcoal had been used in medicines to cure many diseases. Till the present day, we are using charcoal in many ways, whether it is in pharmaceuticals, purification and filtration processes, or horticulture, etc.
According to a report, the global charcoal market is expected to reach $6,566.5 million by 2024. The primary reason for this growth is the increased use of charcoal in water treatment plants and recreational cooking. This will be a significant factor that will drive market growth.
Demand wise, lump charcoal dominated the market historically, and most probably, the same trend will be continued in the near future.
It’s a cleaner form of charcoal that is smokeless as well. It is a lump/chunk of compressed coal dust, wood scraps or chips and sawdust, etc. They are better than other charcoal because it doesn’t spark and burns hotter. Some aggregated material is added to the charcoal dust, and then high pressures play an essential role in forming briquettes.
It is the traditional charcoal that is made from wood. It is natural, and the good part is that it produces a lesser amount of ash compared to other charcoal. It can achieve higher temperatures in minimum time and have high calorific value. Lump charcoal is in fashion as people are more towards consuming the food in an organic way.
It’s a form of activated carbon that is obtained from wood or coconut shells. It is used in medicines as well. Activated charcoal is attained when high temperatures are used with an activating agent/gas so that surface area can be expanded.
It’s a form of carbon that is mainly used to make artificial diamonds. In the extraction of metals, it is used as a reducing agent. In addition to this, sugar charcoal is used as a decolorizing agent. Destructive distillation and dehydration of the sugar are the methods that are used to prepare the amorphous carbon.
Charcoal is mainly used for cooking purposes. One can see the use of charcoal in barbeques and out of home grilling. In many parts of the world, it is still part of everyday cooking.
Its absorbency allows it to absorb gases and liquids. Charcoal filters are also used in some gas masks. It removes toxic gases from the air.
Years before, it was majorly used for melting iron and later used in blast furnaces. After the industrial revolution, it was replaced by coke.
It is also used in horticulture. Though it is not widely used, it is a good source to improve soil quality.
Artists also use it to make sketches, drawings, and even paintings.