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How to Produce Charcoal in Nigeria

Charcoal is on sources of alternative energy and they are in high demand in the international market. There is a large market that exists for charcoal in Asia, US and EU. The range of the price is between $170 and $300 for each ton and this depends on the packaging mode.

This industry for making charcoals is money spinning and a multi billion dollar investment. UK, one of the European countries burns over 60000 metric tons of this commodity and this is on a yearly basis. 70% of this charcoal comes from Africa and there are also other countries that make charcoal.

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Charcoal – Photo Source: https://pixabay.com

Countries To Export Charcoal After Making

Countries taking this commodity are UK, Bulgaria, Spain, Poland, Italy, Netherlands, Greece, Belgium and Germany. Total of the export volume from Nigeria is not enough to meet demand in the UK and other countries. Production happens from hardwood and there is existence of other sources like coconut shell.

Pyrolysis is among the production process and this has to do with burning wood under high temperature. This burning happens without air and this industry offers an opportunity that is sustainable.

Methods of Making Charcoal

Making of charcoal uses 2 methods and they are:

a. Indirect method

b. Direct method

Direct method makes use of heat from the organic matter combustion that is incomplete and this forms the charcoal.

You can control the combustion rate and this is by the regulation of the quantity of oxygen. This oxygen is the one let inside the burn and then undergoes stopping through the exclusion of oxygen before the burning of the charcoal.

Indirect method of burning utilises a heat source that is external and this is for cooking organic items that is for cooking organic items that is contained in a chamber. Carrying out of this takes place in a masonry chamber or metal chamber.

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The Method Of Producing Charcoal Using A Metal Drum Of 45 Gallons

There is applicable usefulness of the metal drum which enables a demand of high quality.

The Metal Drum Method For Producing Charcoal

A metal drum with a cut off lid is necessary and you can use the drum multiple times. Ensure that there is filling of the drum with wood and the process is faster when the wood is dryer. Next is cutting 3 to 5 holes, diameter of 2 inches and this is into the metal drum.

The holes need to be able to hold oxygen and let ashes go through. Keep them at centre and put down the drum on those bricks and then place it off the ground.

Let the top be put back when it goes well and this is to reflect back the heat. Slight gaps will let a draft and this is due to rough cutting.

Let the drum sit and undergo cooling and this is after 2 to 3 hours. Next is removing the charcoal and this is after prying off the top.

Charcoal tends to catch fire once there is spark and can add some water. Hotness of the charcoal tends to be adequate for drying out and repeating the process above is a requirement.

Avoid can removal and this is after the fire goes off. Note that the charcoal can burn up and this is once there is adequate air for the charcoal.

Analysis of Production

A man can run group consisting of drum units of 10. The carbonisation period is 2 to 3 hours and the next is cooling which is about 3 hours. Any operator with some experience can do cycling of ten drums twice daily and this gives 30kg per drum.

This shows that an operation consisting of one man can make 1 and half tons and with 10 kilns. The 1 and half is for 5 week days and this is with efficient supply of wood.

Traditional Method Of Making Charcoal

The technique for making charcoal here is traditional and uses the earth kiln (mould). Makers of charcoal proceed into a forest nearby or pick trees from fellers of timber.

Then stacking of the wood happens in a rectangular manner and this is at a height of up to 4 feet. The length of 10 by 12 feet and a breadth of 5 by 6 feet goes for this.

Use 3 logs or woods that are layer and this is the platform arrangement. There is wood arrangement and this is according to the wood size. Arrangement is from the largest with base position and the position is for the smallest.

Dry grasses cover the wood after stacking and then there is covering with a layer of earth and soil. There is a 10cm hole in diameter and this is at a position where there is wood ignition. 2 holes are put on each side of the wood and extra one in the end.

This is to permit some quantity of air and enable combustion (incomplete). Some other small holes are put and this is on top of the smoke outlet. There is covering of the holes ventilated and this happens at intervals for the regulation of burning wood.

Falling off time happens after stacked wood burn to make charcoal ( about 1 to 3 days).

Analysis Of Production Of Charcoal

2 to 3 people are required and this depends on the wood quantity that gets converted for each time. This takes from 8 to 9 days for a wood stacked and this is at a height of 4 feet and 10 to 12 feet length.

The breadth is between 5 and 6 feet and complete burning into charcoal happens. It is then allowed to cool between 21 and 48 days and then bagging is next. You can get 25 to 30 days with this method.

Where Can You Get The Charcoal?

You can get it all over Nigeria and there are charcoal depots in Isheyin, Ogbomosho, Igbo-Ora and Oyo and they are all in Western Nigeria.

There are also depots in Omu Aran, Jebba, Kabba and Egbbe. Adequate charcoal is also in Kaduna, Jos and Minna. Individuals can also make charcoal.

Uses Of Charcoal

There is much usage of charcoal and this is apart from the use as fuel. Another use of charcoal is for purification of metals and as a filter that removes some organic compounds. Examples of such compounds are pesticides, chlorine, gasoline and other chemicals from air and water.

The Season Of Charcoal

Charcoal comes in a market that is seasonal and it depends on the country. May to August is hot charcoal season for UK, Belgium, France, Holland, Germany and Denmark. Other countries like Israel, Kuwait and other nations have their season from January to December.

Charcoal Standard Requirement

The volatile matter, carbon, ash content and moisture should meet the specification of the buyer.

Packaging Of Charcoal

High tube containers that are open can go for bulk and packs of 3, 10kg etc is also among Cash Against Document and Letter of Credit are terms of trade.

Financing Charcoal Production

You can go for loans and this can be from financial institutions. The start up capital can be up to N600000 and this can handle lending and sourcing. This money can handle a 40 feet (height) container and a weight of 23 tonnes.

If the charcoal is from Benue, then 27 tonnes will fill up the container of 40 fort. There is high return rate and this can be 170 to 185 euros for each tonne. You can return in a year and each trip has a profit of N250000 and N270000.

Charcoal Financial Breakdown

N20 for each bag is the processing fee for 850 bags of a container of 40 feet. Labourers will take N8000 for each container and there are payments of local government dues, association dues and this is at N5000 for each container.

Analysing for a container of 40 feet’s for 850 bags, the sum total of the cost is 23 tones and when this is delivered to the port, it becomes equal to N626000. Foreign buyers purchase at 170 Euros. Multiplying 170 Euros by 23 gives N195 for each Euro. The total gives N762450.

For the profit: N762450- N626000 = N136450.
The profit here is N136450

However making the charcoal yourself is more profitable than otherwise and the calculation above considers that you are purchasing from producers of charcoal. If an exporter can export 4 containers, the profit is N136450 * 4 = N545800 for a month.

Payment from foreign buyers happens after they receive the bill of lading and this include delivery evidence to their chosen shipping line in Apapa.

Small and large investors can profit from making charcoal. If you are an importer in Europe, register your company, obtain warehouse and do your packaging in little bags of 2kg and 10kg.

There are merchants in Europe that import up to 500 containers in Europe and opportunities exist for small investors.

If you do not have an office and other stuffs and you still want to do this business, you can do it at cokodeal.com from your home.


Producing and exporting cocoa is profitable and there are many importers in Europe. You may decide to produce small and large scale. Options exist for corporate or work from home production. Follow the steps above and get your production up and running.

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Ikechukwu Nwuzoh

I am an engineer, writer and blogger. I like to deal on innovative things. Information technology is something I like to engage on. Nice to meet you. InfoGuide Nigeria is a team of Resource Persons and Consultants led by Ifiokobong Ibanga. Page maintained by Ifiokobong Ibanga. If you need a personal assistance on this topic, kindly contact us.

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