Wood charcoal exports by country totaled US$1.1 billion in 2017, up by 17.2% for all charcoal shippers over the five-year period starting in 2013. Year over year, the value of exported charcoal appreciated 13.7% from 2016 to 2017.
Light gray in color, charcoal results from the slow heating of wood or other combustible substances in an oxygen-less environment. This process contrasts with the millions of years involved for coal, a black natural mineral and fossil fuel formed under the earth’s crust under high temperature and intense pressure.
Other differences are that charcoal produces more heat and is a cleaner fuel than coal. In addition to generating energy and producing heat for cooking, black powder from charcoal is used in creating purification filters as well as producing fireworks.
Among continents, Asian countries accounted for the highest dollar worth of exported charcoal during 2017 with shipments valued at $536.6 million or 48.5% of the global total. In second place were European exporters at 30.2% while 9.5% of worldwide charcoal shipments originated from Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean. Smaller percentages came from Africa (6.8%) and North America (4.8%).