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What is Charcoal Briquette and How is it made?

Author : Jordan | Published : Jan 10, 2020

Charcoal briquette is a kind of fuel made by charcoal powder. Compared with traditional fuels, charcoal briquettes can not only generate heat continuously but also do not produce smoke and odor during combustion. Therefore, it has been widely used in domestic and industrial applications in recent years and has become the most popular fuel in many countries such as South Korea, the Middle East, and Greece, etc.

With the increase of its economic benefits, the charcoal briquettes process has become one of the hottest processing industries. So, what is charcoal briquette made of, and what is its process?

What and how is charcoal briquette made of

What and how is charcoal briquette made of

Composition of charcoal briquettes

The charcoal briquette is mainly composed of two parts, the charcoal which is used to provide heat and the minor ingredients. Charcoal is the pyrolysis product of wood or wood materials incomplete combustion being isolated from air. The main component is carbon, so it can be used as fuel. The minor ingredients include accelerants, white ash, and briquette binder.


Charcoal accounts for 90% of the entire charcoal briquettes. As the combustion material providing heat, the raw materials for charcoal can be various woods, such as beech, birch, hard maple, pecan, and oak. Wood waste, such as sawdust and sawdust can also be raw materials for charcoal.

The processing of charcoal is mainly through the kiln burning method. That is, building a kiln, filling with wood and then burning. The wood will carbonize in the kiln.

Black wood charcoal and white charcoal briquette

Black wood charcoal and white charcoal briquette

In general, the charcoal produced and extinguishing in the kiln is called black wood charcoal. It has the advantage of being easy to ignite, but it is easy to explode during burning and has a short burning time. Besides, there is much smoke during burning.

While the charcoal is called white wood charcoal because it can be oxidized and generate white ash after the wood been carbonized, removed from the kiln and quenched with wet sand. Compared with black wood charcoal, it has a harder texture.


Unlike other fuels, being compacted, the charcoal briquette cannot fully contact with oxygen during the combustion process, so the accelerator is needed to accelerate the combustion. Accelerators are generally oxidants, which can release enough oxygen when heated to achieve the purpose of accelerating combustion.

During the processing of charcoal briquettes, the most suitable accelerator materials are chemical nitrates, especially sodium nitrate. Nitrate can not only provide oxygen to accelerate combustion but also provide heat during combustion.

However, the cost of using nitrate is too expensive. Taking the Indian market as an example, the price of one kilogram of nitrate is about $ 1. Therefore, with the proportion of 3% -4% in the charcoal briquette, if nitrate is used as an accelerator, the produced charcoal briquettes will lose its advantage due to the high cost.

Sawdust, as a waste of wood production, has a lower cost, so it can be used as an excellent accelerator. During the processing of charcoal briquettes, adding 10% -20% of wood chips can effectively increase the burning speed.

But keep in mind that uncarbonized sawdust can cause a large amount of smoke during the burning. Therefore, in order to avoid this situation, the sawdust needs to be fermented in water for about 5 days or being carbonized after processing.

Sawdust is a good accelerant for charcoal briquette

Sawdust is a good accelerant for charcoal briquette

White ash

As one of the minor ingredients, white ash accounts for only 2% -3% of the charcoal briquette. The material used as white ash must satisfy the need to turn the charcoal briquette into white color after combustion. So lime or limestone with a calcium carbonate component will be the best choice.

The role of white ash in the burning process of charcoal briquettes is very important. By observing the degree of turning white, we can judge and understand the burning degree of the charcoal briquette. In addition, because the composition of white ash is not combustible, it can effectively extend the burning time.

White ash is the sign to judge the degree of burning

White ash is the sign to judge the degree of burning

Briquette binder

Without plasticity, binder needs to be added in the process of charcoal briquettes.  The proportion of binder in the charcoal briquettes is about 5% -7%.

3 types of binders for charcoal briquette

3 types of binders for charcoal briquette

Numerous facts show that starch has the best performance as a binding material. And among starch materials, tapioca starch is the best. After the starch is gelatinized, a thick paste can be formed so that the charcoal powder is stuck together to facilitate the later briquette.

Another popular briquette binder material is gum arabic or gum arabic, which is produced in the acacia tree. This tree is very common in semi-arid regions, especially in the Sahel region of Africa, such as Senegal, Sudan, Somalia and so on.

However, considering the cost, the best choice is the waste paper pulp. There are also many other cheap binders such as cement, clay, tar, etc., but these materials do not bond well.

Constitute and process of charcoal briquette

To win better competitiveness in the market, it is necessary to ensure charcoal briquettes have superior combustion performance. So, the proportion of each part needs to be paid more attention during the process. The number of minor components being more or less may affect combustion quality.

Taking 10 kilograms of charcoal powder as an example, the following will introduce several low-cost plans for material matching during the charcoal briquette processing.

  • Plan A
    10 kg charcoal dust/fine powder
    0.3 kg tapioca starch
  • Plan B
    10 kg charcoal dust/fine powder
    5 kg sawdust
    1 kg tapioca starch
    0.5 kg limestone
  • Plan C
    10 kg charcoal dust/fine powder
    5 kg sawdust
    0.5 kg tapioca starch
    0.5 kg limestone
    5 kg sand
  • Plan D
    10 kg charcoal dust/fine powder
    5 kg sawdust
    1 kg mashed pulp

The processing of charcoal briquettes can be divided into four steps:

  1. 1 The raw wood materials being put in the kiln and isolating the air to carbonize and obtain charcoal.
  2. 2 Crush and grind the charcoal into fine powder, then add accelerator, white ash and binder.
  3. 3 Put the mixed materials into the briquette machine to shape.
  4. 4 Air-dry the shaped charcoal briquette and packaged for sale.

4 steps for charcoal briquette process

4 steps for charcoal briquette process

Briquette is the core of charcoal briquettes processing. Control of the material moisture is the key point during this process.

If the moisture content is a little higher, the formed briquettes may be scattered. And if the moisture content is a little lower, the briquettes may be cracked. Therefore, the moisture must be controlled between 8% and 12%.

Advantages of charcoal briquettes during processing

Compared with other fuel, the biggest advantage of charcoal briquette is that it has no environmental pollution during the whole processing.

Advantages of charcoal briquette process

Advantages of charcoal briquette process

  • No waste material: With no chemicals added during the entire processing of charcoal briquette, the required minor ingredients can be replaced with sawdust, waste paper pulp, etc. Not only is there no waste slag, but some waste can also be recycled and reused to create benefits.
  • No waste liquid: The whole process does not need to be added or drained water or any liquid, so it will cause no pollution to the water source.
  • No waste gas: The gas generated during the processing of charcoal briquette is only water vapor and some combustible gas which causes no air pollution. It is worth mentioning that this part of the combustible gas can be recycled and used as fuel, which can reduce the cost at the same time.


According to the content above, it is not so difficult to process charcoal briquettes. But many details need to pay attention to, such as component ratio and moisture. All of these will directly affect the final quality.

Therefore, the author recommends that the users need to understand and confirm every step and its details of the charcoal briquettes processing ahead. And then choose the reliable supplier for the purchase of the equipment needed in the processing, such as crusher, dryer, briquette machine, etc.

Equipment in good quality is the first step to achieving economic benefits. Fote Heavy Machinery, focusing on the manufacturing of mining machinery for more than 37 years, produces equipment with reliable quality and guaranteed after-sale service. Any questions related to the processing of charcoal briquettes are welcome to consult.

High-quality briquette machine of FTM

Advantages of charcoal briquette process

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Author : Jordan Jordan is the writer of the blog with a broad knowledge of this industry. Most importantly, he hopes to help you in your projects sincerely.
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