Traditional Charcoal Production for Heating and Generating Rural Employment

Published: 11 March 2019
Last edited: 01 April 2019

Making charcoal is a rural activity that is gradually being lost and could be of great value for rural employment if revived. Charcoal has a number of uses: it can be burned directly in traditional stoves, as mix for briquettes, or for the popular barbecues. Charcoal has a higher calorific value (about 7,500 kcal/kg almost double the briquettes that are currently being manufactured) and can increase the quality of the briquettes. However, this process should be studied and tested in the production plant before commercial production is started.


Technical interventions and infrastructure
Scale of implementation
Phase of solution

Enabling factors

The following steps outline the manual production of lava stone charcoal from small branches: Pile all cuttings and branches into sheaves. Once the area has been cleared and the sheaves are in place, start the fire on the first sheaf. More sheaves are piled around the lava stones using a shovel instead of water. Before branches become dust, put out the fire with water and remove. A shovel is used for cooling the charcoal I, turning it over to separate the dust. Necessary precautions against fires should be taken.


Lessons learned

 This was a pilot or demonstration of a traditional technique, but is will not be sustainable without a sustainable supply of small size branches from various trees, mainly oaks. This requires the adoption of seasonal thinning periods. 

Charcoal production with an oven was the next step in this process, but the cost turned out to be very high, so the idea was postponed, if not discarded.

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