The EU Wood Charcoal Consumption and Production to See Steady Growth16 Feb 2015 • by Natalie Aster
Wood charcoal has been in use since time immemorial, finding application in art, medicine or ancient explosive formulations. Present applications are also diverse, ranging from kindling and filtering to metallurgy and horticulture. Charcoal manufacturing technologies develop from early kilning methods to modern automated carbonising processes, like the Reichert or Lambiotte retort systems.
The European Union market for wood charcoal is a multi-billion-euro marketplace, and it is predicted to grow at a steady pace. The major wood charcoal producers in the EU and their production shares are as follows: Poland (39.8%), Spain (19.1%) and France (14.4%).
Wood charcoal: structure of the EU production
The largest wood charcoal-consuming markets in the EU include the following countries (and their shares of wood charcoal consumption): Germany (27.4%), France (13.7%), the United Kingdom (11.1%) and Poland (9.1%).
Wood charcoal: structure of the EU consumption
Large amounts of wood charcoal sold in the EU are imported. The EU countries import over 70% of consumed wood charcoal, or over 550 thousand tons in volume terms. The current production volume of around 250 thousand tons is insufficient to cover the existing demand for wood charcoal in the EU. Only minuscule quantities of charcoal are exported by the EU countries to the global market. The major charcoal-producing companies in the EU are as follows: proFagus GmbH (Germany), Holzkohlewerk Lüneburg (Germany), Carbo-San (Poland) or Carbo France (France), to name just a few.
The trends of the EU market for wood charcoal imply the steady growth both in consumption and production, as well as further development of manufacturing technologies with a clear bias towards more environmentally friendly approaches. Another important trend is a keen interest in new applications of wood charcoal. Thus, some EU countries show increased interest in the use of charcoal and wood fuels as a biofuel alternative.