Egypt among top 10 charcoal producers worldwide: ministry

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Thu, 13 Sep 2018 - 01:46 GMT

agriculture - PxHere,

agriculture - PxHere,

CAIRO - 13 September 2018:Egypt is among the top ten charcoal producers worldwide with a production representing 3 percent of world output, said an Environment Ministry official on Thursday.

Egypt exports 30,000 tons of charcoal annually with Saudi Arabia on top of Egypt's charcoal importers, said Mohamed Farouk, head of the charcoal unit at the ministry.

The Netherlands and Finland come next in Egypt's charcoal importers list, he added.

Farouk was speaking at a workshop organized by the Environment Ministry in cooperation with Friedrich Ebert Foundation on the media's role in promoting public awareness of contemporary environmental issues.

He said there are 1,600 coal workshops across Egypt according to the Local Development Ministry but the Environment Ministry insists that their number increased to hit 5,000 ones nationwide, mainly in the governorates of Qalubiya, Beheira, Sharqiya and Gharbiya.

He unveiled a plan to develop charcoal workshops to reduce carbon dioxide emissions coming from them through using more advanced kilns and relocating them away from inhabited areas.

Charcoal production occurs in several steps. First, workers collect tree branches and cover them in a layer of straw and a layer of coal dust. The combination is to be heated for ten days until the wood turns into charcoal. Exposed to heat of 100C (212F) the wood turns into coal through the combustion of carbon monoxide, hydrogen, methane, and carbon dioxide gases.

At the completion of the process, tar composes nearly 30% of the charcoal’s weight, while the proportion of carbon is fixed at about 75%, the normal percentage for commercial coal.

To purify the charcoal of tar, the temperature is increased to about 500C (932F).

Then, the charcoal is packed in large sacks to be locally distributed and exported.

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