Slow pyrolysis or carbonisation has been practiced for thousands of years. It continues to be widely used for production of high quality charcoal for metallurgical applications such as in the production of high grade silicon, as a leisure fuel in many developed countries, and in developing countries as an essential and storable commodity for cooking. There is widespread small scale local production in many developed countries as a cottage industry but there are limited truly commercial operations (a notable exception is charcoal production in Brazil for iron and steel production).
Yields of up to 35 wt.% on dry feed are typically achieved with the rest being gas and vapours. There is some activity on recovery of chemicals from condensation of the vapours but most of the by-products are burned for process heat and/or disposal.
This process is being studied in EBRI for production of charcoal for evaluation and for comparison of products with those from intermediate and fast pyrolysis.
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