Created: 17 April 2015

Charcoal is the product that results from burning or carbonizing wood. In addition to being used in the day-to-day as fuel for heaters, fireplaces, barbecues and firewood stoves, charcoal also supplies some industrial sectors, such as steelmaking.

The Brazilian steelmaking segment, which uses bio-based reducing agents or their byproducts, demonstrates an expressive growth in steel production from charcoal, which can be seen by the 86% increase of charcoal consumption obtained from forestry plantations to produce pig iron in the country. A growing rate in the past three years. In terms of planted area destined for charcoal production, the steelmakers have 842,400 hectares of planted trees for economic use, in addition to supporting outgrowers’ programs, technically and financially, to foster the tree planting activity. (Brazil Steel Institute, 2015).

Brazil is the absolute global leader in steel production from charcoal as a reducing agent of iron ore, resulting from the favorable conditions existing in the Country for biomass production. While countries that have expressive steel production use coke, obtained from coal, to reduce iron ore, approximately 10% of the steel produced in Brazil is obtained from the integrated route from charcoal (Aço Brasil Institute, 2015), leading to important environmental and competitive advantages.

These advantages comprise the production of higher quality pig iron and the contribution so that the intensity of CO2 (tons of CO2/ton of steel) emissions of the Brazilian steel industry is lower than that of many countries, by offsetting the Greenhouse Effect Gases in the industrial process resulting from the absorption of CO2 by forests during photosynthesis.