Retort for the production of barbecue charcoal and biochar from local waste wood

Retort for the production of barbecue charcoal and biochar from local waste wood Olis coal

Charcoal and biochar from waste wood
Barbecue charcoal often reaches consumers via long transportation routes and from dubious sources. Locally produced charcoal from scrap sawmill or landscape wood would be much more ecological. A small retort with a capacity of 1m3 of wood and complete exclusion of oxygen can be used to convert local wood into high-quality charcoal. For this purpose, wood cuttings from a local sawmill or poor quality hardwood are manually fed into the retort and converted into coal of the highest quality over 4 - 8 hours. This can generate additional income on a forestry operation or a part-time farm and also reduce the burden on the environment. The waste heat can be used via a heat exchanger to heat living space or for drying processes, e.g. in the timber industry.
Charcoal retort

In 2018, Oliver Reinhard, a young forest science student, discovered that most barbecue charcoal bought in Switzerland comes from faraway countries such as Poland or Namibia.
The sources are often obscure and the quality inferior, meaning that a lot of smoke and harmful exhaust gases are produced during combustion.
Oliver has solved the problem by producing his own charcoal from waste from a neighboring sawmill and using a retort with complete exclusion of oxygen. This locally produced barbecue charcoal sells well to sustainability-conscious customers and barbecue professionals.

Region of origin
Type of wood
Recycled or waste wood
Origin of wood
Mobilization Potential
> 20'000 m³ for Switzerland
Kind of wood concerned
Residual and waste wood
Sustainability Potential
Nutzen regionaler Ressourcen und verbessertes Waldmanagement
Impact on environment & biodiversity

Reduces overexploitation in forests abroad.
Reduces transportation.
Avoids harmful exhaust gases.

Ease of implementation
Retort must be purchased. Coal production is simple.
Economic impact
Added value for the local wood value chain
Job effect
Generates local employment
Income effect
higher margin
Specific knowledge needed
Costs of implementation ( Euro - € )
30000.00 €
Products, markets, trade
Forest-based bio/circular economy
Charcoal upcycling retort
Challenge addressed
6.- Grow the forest-based bioeconomy through circular use and value-added products
Digital solution
Country of origin
Region of origin
Scale of application
Start and end year
2023 - 2025
Contact data
Owner or author
References and Resources
Project reference
Barbecue charcoal and biochar
Project under which this factsheet has been created
Rosewood 4.0