Next Article in Journal
The Impact of Primary Sludge on the Physical Features of High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) Composites
Previous Article in Journal
Improving the Efficiency of Pyrolysis and Increasing the Quality of Gas Production through Optimization of Prototype Systems
Open AccessArticle

Charcoal as an Energy Resource: Global Trade, Production and Socioeconomic Practices Observed in Uganda

Department of Earth and Environmental Science, University of Pennsylvania, 240 S. 33rd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6316, USA
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Resources 2019, 8(4), 183; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources8040183
Received: 16 September 2019 / Revised: 9 December 2019 / Accepted: 12 December 2019 / Published: 16 December 2019
Around the world, charcoal has persisted as an energy resource and retained unequivocal dominance in the energy consumption mix of some nations many years on since modern alternatives were invented. Furthermore, it has secured unyielding significance as a commodity on local and international markets and remained an aggressive competitor to electricity and gas for cooking. Here, we analyze the charcoal supply chain and highlight the rudimentary production techniques common within the sub-Saharan region, using Uganda as an example. Top global producers, importers, and exporters are discussed and, based on fieldwork from ten locations in Uganda, we describe common trade practices, economic contributions and the realities of charcoal consumption in areas with concentrated grid and electricity coverage. Indeed, forest degradation and deforestation in the charcoal trade is indiscriminate and the world’s top producers and exporters of charcoal do not necessarily have vast forest resources. Pyrolysis, the process used to produce charcoal from wood, exacerbates risks of wild fires and deteriorates air quality. Our fieldwork indicates that little to no innovation exists to manage waste materials such as ash and polluting gases along the supply chain. Recommendations for the future include better forest conservation practices and more innovation at the cooking level, because effects of localized environmental degradation inevitably lead to negative impacts beyond geographical borders. View Full-Text
Keywords: charcoal production; import/export; cooking; deforestation; earth-mound kilns; electricity; environmental degradation; nomadism; public health charcoal production; import/export; cooking; deforestation; earth-mound kilns; electricity; environmental degradation; nomadism; public health
Show Figures

Figure 1

MDPI and ACS Style

Nabukalu, C.; Gieré, R. Charcoal as an Energy Resource: Global Trade, Production and Socioeconomic Practices Observed in Uganda. Resources 2019, 8, 183.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats
Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Access Map by Country/Region

1
Back to TopTop