In developing nations with limited access to fossil fuels such as oil and gas, people bake wood or other fibrous material such as coconut shells to reduce them to charcoal. The process of baking these fibrous materials removes fire retardant components such as water and tar and burns off highly combustible hydrogen and methane. The result is a high-carbon-content charcoal that burns evenly and produces a greater amount of heat than the original material. The process of converting coconut shells to charcoal briquettes uses a specially designed charcoal drum or stove to remove all the moisture from the shells without completely burning them to ash.
Things You'll Need
- Coconut shells
- Charcoal drum or stove
Clean the coconut shells, and remove any fibers from the outside of the shell. The outer fibers of the coconut shell are highly flammable and will catch fire instead of baking.
Allow the coconut shells to cure for six months. Store the coconut shells in a warm, dry location. This will remove most of the moisture from the shells, allowing them to carbonize rather than burn in the charcoal stove.
Place the coconut shells in a charcoal drum or stove, specially designed for the production of charcoal. These stoves keep the coconut shells from direct contact with the flames and allow control of the air flow. The heat in the stove creates a drying environment.
Reduce or increase the air intake on the stove to maintain a temperature of 500 to 900 degrees Fahrenheit. The shells will produce small flames. However, as long as the overall temperature of the stove remains below 900 degrees Fahrenheit, the process will create more charcoal than ash.
Bake the shells for three to five hours. Cook the coconut shells until you can just pierce the shell without it shattering.
Remove the carbonized coconut briquettes from the stove and allow them to cool.
Crush the coconut shell briquettes into smaller pieces, if desired.