Charcoal – What it is, utilities, problems and mineral coal

The charcoal has long been used without restriction and with important environmental impact. Thus, it was widely used in domestic daily life and some industrial sectors are employed on a large scale.

However, with environmental awareness this product started to be less used.

Index [ hide ]

  • What is charcoal?
  • Utilities
  • Historical uses
  • Charcoal problems
  • Charcoal x mineral coal

What is charcoal?

Charcoal is a product resulting from the burning of wood and is widely used as an energy source . After carbonization, the resulting item is a black substance.

In addition, it is a porous material, having the ability to chemically interact and retain other substances, that is, it is an absorbent material.


On a daily basis, charcoal can be used as fuel for heaters, fireplaces, barbecue grills and wood stoves.

In the industrial sectors, they are also used as fuels and in segments such as steel, metallurgy, cement, etc.

In addition, charcoal can be used for medicinal purposes, with phototherapeutic capabilities and with a high absorbent potential. In this case it becomes known as activated carbon, being extracted from soft-looking and non-resinous woods.

In addition, they can be used as remedies in the treatment of stomach pain, bad breath, thrush, intestinal gas, infectious diarrhea and intoxications.

Historical uses

In Ancient Egypt, charcoal was used for filtering oils and for medical use in the treatment of diseases.

During World War II, this material was used to absorb toxic gases.

The Brazilian Indians used charcoal to create a mixture, together with animal fat for the treatment of ulcers and tumors.

Charcoal problems

As charcoal is produced from the carbonization of wood, it is necessary to extract wood from nature to obtain it. Thus, depending on the origin of the wood, it can cause environmental problems related to the deforestation of the areas used.

In addition, some technologies used in the production of this material are still primitive. This causes problems, as this way is not operated with the necessary care and control in carbonization furnaces. As a result, the emission of gases and chemical components can happen without control.

However, even when using the most modern technology, the production of this material releases gases and chemicals into the environment, generating serious polluting factors, influencing the greenhouse effect .

Finally, after the production of charcoal, the question of use arises. Thus, whether in everyday or industrial use, there will be the burning of this material for the desired purpose.

That is, if used in barbecues, stoves, fireplaces, among others, the material will be burned. Consequently, it will generate and release more gases into the atmosphere .

Charcoal x mineral coal

The coal corresponds to a sedimentary rock used as fuel. In addition, it has dark colors, being extracted from deep layers of earth, called coal layers.

This material is called fossil coal because it is formed from the decomposition of organic matter, which is buried and compacted, undergoing pressure and temperature actions.

Mineral coal is also used as a fuel , mainly in the generation of electric energy . However, its burning produces highly toxic components, such as mercury, vanadium, cadmium, arsenic and lead. In addition, it releases large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

When comparing charcoal and mineral coal , based on the greater use of burning to generate energy, mineral coal is superior because its burning generates greater calorific value. This means that the fossil material has more carbon that constitutes coal, which is more beneficial.

However, the use of both types of coal are considered alarming and aggravating, as they release toxic and polluting substances. However, as charcoal and mineral coal have different origins and substances, they consequently result in different burning compounds.

In view of this analysis, fossil coal is considered more polluting compared to charcoal, due to the metals released in its combustion.


by Abdullah Sam
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