Оlive stones – ideal raw material for the charcoal production
The history of the production of olive oil in Europe counts not the one thousand years. Only in Spain, olive groves occupy up to 1.5 million hectares. The top five world leaders in production, in addition to Spain, include Italy, Greece, Turkey and Tunisia. A long list of countries-producers also includes Portugal, Bulgaria, Jordan, Algeria, Morocco – almost all countries of the Mediterranean basin.
In the EU, 4% of agricultural land is used for the production of olive oil, and almost a third of all farmers in the EU work in olive plantations.
Olive oil is produced from fruits of various ripeness level, from green to ripe black or purple. Olives are pressed first, then the obtained mass is slowly mixed, after that oil is squeezed out of it. The oilcake obtained after pressing has many possible applications.
As a rule, olive pits can be processed into other types of solid energy carriers, such as briquettes and charcoal.
Olive can be divided into four anatomical parts: epicarp, mesocarp, endocarp and nucleus (pit).
The endocarp (or olive stone) is characterized by a high content of lignin and cellulose. The carbon content in it is higher than in wood (about 52 wt.%), while the ash content is less than 1%. These properties make the olive pits an ideal raw material for the charcoal production.
Each hectare of olive grove produces three tons of olives, as well as about three tons of cut wood per year. Farmers pruning olive trees several times a year. As a rule, all pruned branches are burned.
Improper disposal of both the oilcake and the cut branches is harmful to the environment.
Soil erosion, pollution of rivers and groundwater, CO2 emissions during the branch burning are the main problems of the production of olives and olive oil. At the same time, tons of valuable resources are lost: for every ton of processed olives there are 400 kg of waste!
At the moment biomass pyrolysis is one of the most promising technologies for waste processing and production of renewable energy.
Pyrolysis is the thermal decomposition of wood and carbonaceous waste without oxygen. As a result of pyrolysis, complex organic compounds are transformed into a solid carbon residue — charcoal.
This charcoal is characterized by high carbon content – more than 75%, low ash, nitrogen and sulfur content.
Choosing the right and affordable equipment for the charcoal production in this context becomes the key. GreenPower has developed a range of charcoal kilns for various raw materials.
BIO-KILN is an environmentally friendly equipment that allows to carbonize small-fraction raw materials (5-50 mm), such as olive pits, nutshells and seeds of fruit trees, as well as shredded branches. Almost full automation of the process allows to achieve productivity of up to 50 tons of high-quality charcoal per month.
Charcoal produced by BIO-KILN can be used for hookah, activation, BBQ and biochar.