Ingredients: 100% wood
Activation process: steam
Additional handling: Secondary steam treatment to reduce dust
Country of Manufacture: Canada
Activated Charcoal is a natural way to clean your skin and teeth.
Under a microscope, activated charcoal is made of of millions of tiny caves , which gives it a really large surface area. If you flattened out all the space you could have several kilometers of surface in every gram of activated charcoal. Carbon is naturally adsorbent, which means that things want to adhere to its surface so it acts like an absorbent sponge. This is why it works so well as a cleanser, and why you’re seeing activated charcoal show up in all kinds of personal care products, like soap, face masks, shampoos, deodorants and natural tooth whiteners.
You can buy these products from a store, but you can also make most of them at home. There are dozens of recipes available online that allow you to control the ingredients, including scents and flavours in your own products. There is no need to buy expensive brands with a long list of unrecognizable ingredients. You can make these unique to you.
Activated Charcoal has been used for generations for its unique health benefits
All you have to do is search for “activated charcoal recipes” for a wide variety of food and drink recipes that use activated charcoal for a main ingredient. Due to it’s large surface area, it can had a mild detoxifying effect and help bind toxins in your digestive system and flush them out. We have had people tell us that Firefly has really helped with stomach upset resulting from lactose intolerance and fibromyalgia discomfort. (See a testimonial below.) Others claim it is a great way to settle the stomach after indulging in too much food and drink as evidenced by the large selection of charcoal lemonade hangover cures on the market. It is also a fun way to make food really stand out- who can pass on rich, dark, activated charcoal macaroons or a loaf of “detox bread”? Have fun with it! Bur remember, Firefly is a therapeutic product, which means it’s not medically-activated and will not act as a poison control. If you have any serious health concerns, please call your doctor first.
Activated charcoal is an effective, natural, carbon sink which means it’s good for the long-term health of our environment.
The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published a report on October 19, 2018. It concluded that the pyrolysis process, which is the process by which Firefly is made, is a negative emission technology (NET). It also highlighted that pyrolysis was the only NET that was ready to scale-up, which means you can keep adding pyrolysis units around the world and each one would add to the overall benefit. The Biochar Journal stated that it was “economically favorable and has positive side effects on our eco-system, agriculture and food security.”
So how does that work? At Firefly, we use reclaimed wood in our process, and one tonne of wood would be about 50% carbon. That carbon was pulled out of the atmosphere as the tree grew, and was captured in the wood itself. If we allowed the tree to decay or burn, that carbon dioxide would re-enter the atmosphere at we would be net-zero. However, since we carbonize the wood under vacuum, hydrogen and oxygen are separated out and we use that as the fuel to keep our process going, and the solid leftovers are pure, sterile carbon. Since the elements are separated during the process, they cannot recombine to make carbon dioxide. Since we’re not using fossil fuel to maintain the carbonization temperatures, we are not contributing to the release of any new carbon dioxide. The pyrolysis process captures more than 75% of the carbon that was in the wood, providing a net sequestration of carbon.
More About the Pyrolysis Process
Activated charcoal is made by sending small pieces of wood through what is basically a big oven, baking it at several hundred degrees Celsius under a vacuum. This high-temperature process, called slow pyrolysis, drives off any volatiles from the carbon, capturing them in a liquid and a gas, which we reserve for other uses. The carbon left behind is our product- pure, sterile carbon with 0% moisture and a large surface area. Since the product is so dry when the process is complete, we add steam in post-processing which help make the product much less dusty and also helps increase the surface area even further.
Since we use 100% wood as our input, you may notice that Firefly is a bit sparkly. It’s the facets in the wood that catch the light like a cut stone which doesn’t happen with nut shells, which have a different density.