Q. Why does charcoal burn even though it is wood cinders? A. This is because charcoal is not wood cinders but is made by burning wood slowly in an oven with little air, turning it into carbon. Wood is made of fiber (cellulose) and minerals (metals). When wood is burned, oxygen and other elements in the air (mainly carbon, hydrogen and oxygen) react to form carbon dioxide that is released into the atmosphere, while the minerals turn into ashes. However when wood is burned in an oven with the flow of air stopped, oxygen inside is soon used up and is not enough to oxidize the carbon in the wood. Thus the carbon is left to turn into charcoal. This is why when charcoal is burned, only carbon dioxide is released and there is neither smoke nor smell. What is cellulose?
Cellulose is a carbohydrate that constitutes the essential part of many organic matters. It is composed of glucose (a variety of sugar) units. What does organic mean? Organic is a generic name of chemical compounds containing carbon and is known to ignite easily. The opposite of organic matters such as water, air, and minerals, are inorganic matters.
Dear Molly, I am not sure when this was written but is it a serious comparison? Briketts these days come in many forms and of those the best performing are from coconut shell. They will most certainly burn hotter, longer, cleaner than the vast majority of wood based products. If you consider organic vegetable starches as chemical binders then you are correct. Why do you not equally state briketts can be reused?
This is basic pyrotechnics, shut off the oxygen and the lump or briketts will extinguish and can be reused. If handled correctly briketts will light just as quick as lump and will burn longer. With regards to lighter fluids the same methods apply to both, not uniquely briketts. Our briketts light perfectly well in a chimney with bio firelighters. I expect lump would do the same! You don\’t mention that briketts are formed from renewable sources whereas you claim lump is perfectly natural ( but dead!! ) What pollutants to the air do you refer to. Briketts produced through Pyrolysis do no such thing whereas the production processes followed by traditional charcoal producers leaves a lot to be desired from an environmental perspective.
Are you familiar with the devastation wood charcoal from tropical rainforests is causing, and the child Labour and poor working conditions not to mention the very dirty production processes that go hand in hand. I would think a magazine of your status would want to be promoting good not bad. To caveat the above I am a producer of coconut shell briketts and can confidently predict the performance would top any lump charcoal. We produce based on the principles of fair for all, which has at its core environmental protection. We not only displace products that contribute to deforestation we also produce green energy which displaces the need for fossil fuel use. If you were interested to update your article or offer a balanced follow up I\’d be happy to help.