As a natural and renewable resource, bamboo offers an opportunity to turn away from the destruction of native forests towards managed plantations that can be selectively harvested annually without clear-cutting. Tree plantations obviously have to be chopped down while bamboo keeps on keeping on, with the ability to rapidly accumulate a high volume of biomass per acre. This fact has gained the attention of many industries trying to establish environmentally safe and reliable ways of replacing wood products of all kinds. Maya Bamboo, makers of Hot Bambú lump charcoal, is taking on charcoal for the grilling market.
More than 80 percent of US households own a barbecue grill, and about half cook out all year. Peak use occurs during the summer months when 47 percent fire up an average of one to two times a week. The two biggest environmental effects of grilling are air pollution and deforestation.
The world’s consumption of grilling charcoal, made from wood, leads to clear-cutting, loss of natural resources, and soil erosion in developing countries. Traditional methods of charcoal production release methane and particulate gasses into the atmosphere over a 10-15 day production cycle.
Making green a part of grilling tradition is a real possibility with bamboo lump grilling charcoal. Maya Bamboo is a company that operates in partnership with sustainable bamboo plantations, utilizing licensed clean technology in its manufacturing processes. Their production system permits the harmful gases and volatiles, typically released into the atmosphere, to be recycled and burned during production to increase the carbonization process.
Taking what they have learned about retort technology they have also developed a design for an efficient mobile retort, that can move where it is needed, and produce finished bamboo charcoal right on sight. Since the finished char is 60% lighter than the original biomass weight, many costly steps are avoided. Most importantly, moving the bamboo waste from a grove to a processing facility. The fuel and time associated with that has been eloquently removed from the logistics.
So with this in mind, let’s talk about the greenest grilling method. From a lifecycle perspective, including how the fuel is created and distributed, what is the most environmentally friendly way to grill? And can bamboo charcoal make a difference?
• Gas Grills are fueled from petroleum or natural gas, which emits less smoke and particulate matter during grilling, but both are non-renewable fossil fuels.
• Charcoal grills and lighter fluid are proven contributors to ground-level ozone, according to the EPA, and release particulate matter into the air, which can have a negative impact on human health.
• Electric Grills are a good choice if your home power is from green rather than traditional sources; otherwise these grills have the highest GHG footprint, because over half the electricity produced in the US is from coal and the efficiency of turning coal into electricity and then back to heat is about 25%.
Looking at the entire carbon cycle from a long-term perspective, using lump charcoal (as opposed to briquettes, which commonly contain additives such as sodium nitrate) and a charcoal chimney (as opposed to lighter fluid) makes a charcoal grill closer to carbon net neutral because traditional lump charcoal is produced from wood and trees take up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. To strengthen this argument, if you use bamboo lump charcoal from a sustainable biomass, carbonized with clean technology you are only improving your grilling greenness. Plus, bamboo sequesters carbon from the atmosphere at a greater rate than traditional timber sources and is not clear-cut it is selectively harvested.
Established in 2008, Maya Bamboo LLC is the proud producer and manufacturer of Hot Bambú lump charcoal. Their goal is to bring their sustainable grilling charcoal product to grilling enthusiast everywhere. In order to fulfill this goal, the company has launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fuel this great idea.
Check it out and support with innovative idea by choosing a reward: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/hotbambu/sustainably-produced-hot-ba…
Facts about Hot Bambú:
• Contains no fossil fuels, fillers, or chemicals.
• Burns clean, with little smoke.
• Lights easily, no need to use lighter fluid.
• Burns hot with little ash production.
• Brings out the natural flavor of the food you are grilling.