What are wood pellets?
Wood pellets are a common type of biomass. Biomass is any biological material that can be used as fuel—including grass, corn, wood, and biogas as well as other forestry and agricultural residues. Wood pellets are compressed byproducts from the forest products industry, often woodchips and sawdust.
What are wood pellets used for?
They can be used as fuels for power generation, commercial or residential heating, and cooking.
What kinds of raw materials can be used for making wood pellets?
Various forestry and agro-waste materials can be used to make wood pellets, such as wood sawdust, wood shavings, wood chips, wood logs, straw, rice husk, coffee husk, bamboo, tea waste, wheat straw, etc. The raw material is renewable and sustainable. They are available locally, so the cost is affordable and predictable.
How are wood pellets created?
Wood pellets are made from densified wood material, such as sawdust and fine wood chips, typically from logging operations and sawmills. Wet sawdust is pressed into pellets under high heat and pressure. There are no additives in wood pellets. Natural plant lignin holds the pellets together without glues or additives – so they burn very efficiently.
Wood pellets are of uniform size and shape, between 1 to 1-1/2 inches by approximately 1/4-5/16 inches in diameter. Wood pellets also have a higher energy content by weight (roughly 7,750 BTU per pound at six percent moisture content) due to their densified nature and low-moisture content (typically between 4-6 percent moisture by weight)
Why use wood pellets for heating?
Wood pellets are:
- Efficient | Wood pellets are an efficient source of heat because they contain very low levels of moisture and ash when compared to woodchips or cordwood. Virtually all of the material is burned and converted to heat.
- Cost-effective | Wood pellets are economically competitive with home fossil fuel options and electric heat. Relative to other home heating alternatives, pellet fuel prices are less volatile.
- Convenient | Bags of pellets are easy to store. A ton of pellets consists of fifty 40-lb bags and stacks neatly in a 4′ x 4′ x’ 4′ area. Bags of pellets pour directly into a stove hopper, and regulating the rate at which the fuel flows into the hopper is easy given the small, uniform size of the pellets.
- Environmentally responsible | Wood pellets are a sustainable fuel source, and burning wood pellets is carbon neutral.
- Renewable | Wood pellets are a biomass product made of wood waste or other forest-thinning byproducts. According to data collected by the Pellet Fuels Institute, wood pellets are an unlimited fuel source.