Biocarbon or charcoal is a valuable product that has been made for thousands of years, typically by heating wood to drive off moisture and other constituents and leave mostly carbon behind. Charcoal can be used for cooking, but is utilized in many other applications, including air/water purification and in the metallurgy industry. HNEI has been involved in research aimed at improving the process of charcoal production for many years.
An HNEI researcher (Dr. Michael Antal) has invented and patented the Flash Carbonization™ Process, which is used to quickly and efficiently produce high quality charcoal from a wide variety of biomass feedstocks. A commercial-scale Flash Carbonization™ demonstration reactor has been build at the University of Hawai‘i Mānoa campus -- see the Biocarbon (Charcoal) project section of our website for details. The Flash Carbonization™ Process is available via a license through the UH Office of Technology Transfer and Economic Development. The Kingsford Products Company (largest manufacturer of charcoal in the U.S.) obtained one of our licenses in 2007.
For additional information on biocarbons and related research, refer to the Renewable Resources Research Activities section of our website. For general acttivities concerned with bio-renewable resources and biotechnology, see the Bio-Renewable Resources and Biotechnology research sections of our website.