Can Pine be Charcoaled?

I’m interested in charcoal gasification for fueling small engines. However, I’m moving to east Texas where I’ll be surrounded by pine trees. Hard woods are difficult to come by. Can pine be charcoaled? Will it make a good engine fuel? Is the yield lower? What else should I know? Thanks everyone. (Gary, I love your Simple Fire, ;-).

i run softwood chips all the time in our small gasser, the gasser makes char as part of the process… can’t see why it couldn’t be done…

Welcome to the site, Mark. Yes you can make pine charcoal. Even better to run off the wood directly, if you can. But the Simple-fire is a great way to get started.

Pine is Fine for charcoal.
Hi Mark, Yes, pine can be made into charcoal. Actually, all conifiers can be made into charcoal. The density of the charcoal is directly related to the density of the wood. You have soft pines such as white pine and you have hard pines such as Loblolly. Same with hardwoods. Bottom line is the process of making charcoal will cook out most of the hydrogen, oxygen and the pitch leaving mostly carbon. If the wood is dense to start with, the charcoal will be also. Charcoal made from less dense conifers such as hemlock will crush and rub into dust much easier that if I used say red cedar.
If you have a choice, use the harder woods such as mesquite, or oak. If you don’t have that, than use what you have. Your run times may be shorter with soft wood charcoal, but you are making your own fuel at home and that means a lot. Be glad you have trees! Nature’s solar storage battery.

Mr. Gilmore, thank you for the clarification. I had reasoned along the same lines, but it’s important for me to get the skinny from those with experience. On that note, I have another inquiry. Since the charcoal used in a gasifier should be graded with respect to size, then I was wondering on the results of charring wood chips. Might this process yield charcoal of acceptable dimensions with less processing? Well, one must process the wood chips of course, but running wood through a chipper isn’t so bad. NOTE: I would try this myself, but I’m not currently residing where this is practical.

Hi Mark, To take the wood to chips then char or take the wood to char than chip is the question. In my mind it is MUCH easier to take the wood, char it, then run it through a processor to get an acceptable size charcoal. Charcoal is much easier to break apart than wood and therefore takes much less energy. My processor runs on a 1/4 HP engine. I’d probably need at least 20 HP to chip the wood. If you go the wood chipping route, there are problems in making char due to the chips packing tightly together. You will probably make more charcoal dust too in converting chips to charcoal.
My 2 cents worth
Gary in PA

We make hundreds of pounds of softwood charcoal per year for smelting iron from ore. No problem making it. I agree with Gary that it’s easier to size and grade the charcoal than other way around. Only problem with handling/sizing the chrarcoal is that it is REALLY DIRTY work. Wanna ask me how I know?

With my chinese gasifier on wood chips: when I snuff it out at the end of a run, the charred left over chips are very small and very dusty. Probably lose about 1/3 of the charcoal by volume by the time the dust has been removed for use in the next run. The feathery edges of the wood chips go first.

One who once screened 8 tons of charcoal,
Pete Stanaitis