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Bamboo charcoal is made up of pieces of bamboo, which are taken from plants five years or older and burned inside an oven at temperatures over 120 °C. It benefits environmental protection by reducing pollutant residue. It is an environmentally functional material that has excellent absorption properties.
Bamboo charcoal has a long history in China and has been documented as early as 1486 AD during the Ming Dynasty in Chuzhou Fu Zhi. Later, it was also mentioned in the Qing Dynasty during the rule of Kang Xi, Qian Long and Guang Xu.
Bamboo charcoal is made of bamboo by means of a pyrolysis process. According to the types of raw material, bamboo charcoal can be classified as raw bamboo charcoal and bamboo briquette charcoal. Raw bamboo charcoal is made of bamboo plant parts such as culms, branches, and roots. Bamboo briquette charcoal is made of bamboo residue, for example, bamboo dust, saw powder etc., by compressing the residue into sticks of a certain shape and carbonizing the sticks. There are two equipment processes used in carbonization, one is a brick kiln process, and the other is a mechanical process.
Bamboo charcoal is mainly used as fuel for cooking and drying tea in China and Japan. Most bamboo charcoal for fuel is bamboo briquette charcoal, and the rest is raw bamboo charcoal. Bamboo material has an extraordinary micro-structure: it has a high absorptive capacity after carbonization, and becomes even more effective after activation. Bamboo charcoal can be used to purify water and eliminate organic impurities and smells. Drinking water sterilized with chlorine can be treated with bamboo charcoal to remove residual chlorine and chlorides. In addition, a process involving bamboo charcoal has recently been developed in Taiwan using nanotechnology in combination with silver to produce a textile fibre. Thomas Edison's original light bulb had a carbonized bamboo filament.
Bamboo charcoal is known to have high porosity. Various impurities or foreign matter will be absorbed over the wide surface area of the charcoal. When air passes over, if the humidity is high, the charcoal will absorb the moisture and the air will be converted to dry air. If the air is too dry, then the charcoal will discharge its own moisture, thus adjusting the humidity in the air.
Bamboo vinegar or pyroligneous acid is extracted when making charcoal and is used for hundreds of treatments in almost all fields. This liquid contains 400 different chemical compounds and can be applied for many purposes including cosmetics, insecticides, deodorants, food processing, and agriculture.
Bamboo charcoal is focused on as an ingredient, with many of its properties elaborated on, in the 29th episode of the anime Yakitate Japan where it is mixed into breads.
- "Bamboo charcoal can boost fish growth: study". The China Post (Taiwan). 6 April 2009. Retrieved 11 March 2011.
- J. Ruttanavut, K. Yamauchi, H. Goto, T. Erikawa (2009). "Effects of dietary bamboo charcoal powder including vinegar liquid on growth performance and histological intestinal change in aigamo ducks". International Journal of Poultry 8 (3): 229–36. ISSN 1682-8356.
- Manual of Bamboo Charcoal Production and Utilization by Guan Mingjie of the Bamboo Engineering Research Center (BERC)
- Bamboo Charcoal – Information and How-to guide on making bamboo charcoal