How to Make Charcoal from Wood

Wood charcoal, a versatile product with numerous applications, holds great promise in various industries. From industrial processes and agriculture applications, wood charcoal’s demand continues to rise. Therefore, “How to Make Charcoal from Wood” has become a hot topic of discussion. Nowadays, people are increasingly concerned about the environmental friendliness of the production process. Hence, achieving clean production of charcoal from wood is also an important issue. Keep reading to discover more about the mysteries of wood charcoal production.

How to Make Wood Charcoal

Characteristics of Different Wood Types to Make Wood Charcoal

Wood selection plays a crucial role in charcoal production, with both hardwood and softwood offering distinct features.

Hardwood to Make Wood Charcoal


Common types of hardwood include oak, maple, walnut, cherry, mahogany, teak, ash, beech, rosewood, and elm. They have the following characteristics:

  • Density and Carbon Content: Hardwood is known for its dense structure. Therefore, it generally contains a higher content of carbon than softwood. This results in a denser hardwood charcoal.
  • Slow-Burning Properties: Due to its dense nature, hardwood charcoal burns at a slower rate, making it ideal for prolonged cooking or industrial burning sessions.
  • Moisture Content: Hardwood tends to have lower moisture content compared to softwood, which facilitates efficient pyrolysis and enhances wood charcoal yield.

Softwood to Make Wood Charcoal


The main types of softwood include pine, cedar, spruce, fir, and larch. Their characteristics are slightly different from hardwoods.

  • Availability and Ignition: Softwood has a shorter growth cycle and is cheaper. Therefore, it is easily available. In other words, choosing softwood to make charcoal can reduce production costs.
  • Moisture Content: Softwood generally contains higher moisture content compared to hardwood, which may require additional drying before pyrolysis to achieve optimal charcoal quality.
  • Unique Flavor: Softwood charcoal imparts a lighter flavor to grilled or cooked food compared to hardwood. This makes it suitable for dishes where a subtle smoky flavor is preferred.

Different Wood Charcoal Making Methods: Simple Kiln Vs. Modern Machine

Traditionally, charcoal production has relied on traditional kiln or underground pit methods. While effective, these methods often lack efficiency and environmental sustainability. In contrast, modern wood charcoal machine offers significant advantages in terms of efficiency, safety and environmental impact. Below is a detailed comparison of the two production methods:

Aspect Traditional Kiln Modern Machine
Production Capacity Limited by kiln size and manual operation. Higher capacity due to automated processes and continuous production.
Efficiency Relatively low efficiency due to manual operation and variable heat distribution. High efficiency with controlled temperature and optimized pyrolysis conditions.
Environmental Impact May contribute to deforestation and air pollution due to open burning and inefficient combustion. Minimizes environmental impact through closed-loop systems, emission control, and utilization of waste heat.
Labor Requirements High labor requirements for loading, monitoring, and unloading of kilns. Reduced labor needs with automated operation and continuous processing.
Quality Control Limited control over charcoal quality and consistency due to manual processes. Precise control over temperature, oxygen levels, and production parameters.
Safety Higher risk of accidents and injuries due to manual handling of hot materials. Enhanced safety features such as automated monitoring, emergency shutdown systems, and protective enclosures.
Flexibility Limited flexibility in production schedules and charcoal characteristics. Offers flexibility to adjust production parameters and product specifications.
Initial Investment Lower initial investment costs, but higher long-term maintenance and fuel expenses. Higher initial investment costs, but lower operating costs and improved efficiency.
Automation Relies on traditional methods with limited automation and control systems. Utilizes advanced control system such as PLC control and IoT technology.
Carbon Footprint May have a higher carbon footprint due to inefficiencies and emissions. Helps reduce carbon footprint through efficient production processes and waste recycling.
Simple Klin to Make Wood Charcoal
Simple Wood Charcoal Klin
Modern Machine to Make Wood Charcoal
Modern Wood Charcoal Machine

How to Make Wood Charcoal: Analyze Production Process

The following will show the production process of the advanced Beston charcoal making machine. Let’s take this as an example to conduct a detailed analysis on the question “how is charcoal made from wood”.

1. Dry Wood

Before entering the pyrolysis reactor, wood undergoes drying to reduce its moisture content to below 15%. This step ensures optimal pyrolysis efficiency and minimizes energy consumption during the subsequent stages.

2. Crush Wood

Following drying, wood is crushed into smaller pieces, typically less than 20mm in size. This increases the wood’s surface area, facilitating uniform pyrolysis and enhancing charcoal yield.

3. Pyrolysis of Wood⭐

The reactor first undergoes a period of preheating. The pretreated wood then undergoes a pyrolysis reaction in a reactor. The entire reaction environment is micro-oxygenous, with the temperature reaching 380°C to 450°C. During the wood pyrolysis process, the internal structure of wood will go through the following processes:

  • Dehydration: Wood initially loses moisture at lower temperatures, priming it for subsequent reactions.
  • Demethylation: Increasing temperatures cause wood to demethylate, releasing combustible gases like hydrogen and methane.
  • Volatile Release: Higher temperatures prompt the release of some volatile matters. These volatiles such as wood vinegar&tar can be collected.
  • Charcoal Formation: Continued pyrolysis transforms solid residues into wood charcoal, rich in carbon.

4. Collect Wood Charcoal

Upon completion of pyrolysis, the resulting charcoal is cooled and collected using water-cooled systems. It ensures safe handling and efficient extraction.

5. Make Charcoal Briquette

When wood charcoal is put into practical applications, there may be requirements for its shape, such as barbecue&hookah charcoal. In order to make wood charcoal briquettes of various shapes, a charcoal briquette machine is necessary. Wood charcoal is crushed, bonded, pressed, formed and other processes in the machine to form charcoal briquettes.

6. Collect Wood Vinegar&Tar

The pyrolysis process generates Condensable biogas. These gaseous components are condensed to produce valuable by-products such as wood vinegar and wood tar. These substances have applications in the agricultural, pharmaceutical and chemical industries. This adds value to the wood charcoal production process.

7. Reuse Combustible Gas

The remaining non-condensable biogas has good combustion properties. These combustible gases will undergo purification and dust removal processes. They then reenter the reactor to provide energy. Not only that, these precious biofuels can be collected separately to power other production activities. Finally, the remaining exhaust gas will be cooled and dusted before being discharged into the atmosphere.

3D Video Demonstration of Making Charcoal from Wood

The following will visually show you the charcoal production process through a 3D video. If you want to get more videos related to wood charcoal making, please visit our YouTube.


Believe you already have a good understanding of how to make charcoal from wood. In summary, as charcoal production continues to advance, we work with you to explore ways to achieve more efficient and cleaner wood charcoal production technologies. If you have other ideas or questions about the production of wood charcoal, please feel free to consult Beston Group.

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