How to Make Wood Pellets-The Ultimate Beginner's Guide
Are you curious about how to make wood pellets? Keep reading to learn everything you need to know.
Wood pellets are a fast, easy way to get the warmth and comfort of a wood-burning stove without having to deal with all the mess. Making your own pellets is an environmentally friendly option that provides a renewable, biodegradable source of fuel for your fireplace, fuel stove, or another heating element.
You’ll save money on your heating bills and help the planet all at the same time! Best yet, the process is easy and hardly time-consuming at all.
Here’s what you need to know.
Table of Content
What Are Wood Pellets?
Wood pellets are a compressed form of wood that can be used as a fuel. They are made from sawdust, chips and other forms of dry wood waste, and can be made from both softwood and hardwood trees.
Like any fuel, wood pellets can be used to generate electricity or heat water. They’re typically burned in a boiler to heat water and provide steam for a turbine generator that produces electricity.
Wood pellets have been used in Europe since the 1980s as a replacement for coal and oil. They are also used in some parts of the world as an alternative to natural gas and propane, particularly where those fuels are expensive or difficult to transport.
Making wood pellets is a good way to make use of your unwanted yard waste and give you a profitable side business. You can also use this method to heat your home, which will save you money on heating bills.
What Are the Ingredients in Wood Pellets?
Wood pellets are made from a variety of wood sawdust, hardwood and softwood. The chemical ingredients of wood pellets are cellulose, hemicellulose, lignin and extracts. Lignin acts as a binder between cellulose. Therefore, to make wood pellets no need to add any chemical binder.
Wood pellets main components not include any binders and additives, only the shapes changed by pellet machine, it’s physical process. After pelletizing, the density will change to 800-1300kg/m3， which will extend the burning time. So the wood pellets can be a cleaner and environment-friendly fuel compared with the coal and have bigger and bigger market in world energy consumption.
How Much Sawdust Can Makes 1 Ton of Pellets?
The amount of sawdust required to produce a ton of pellets depends on the moisture content of the sawdust. If the sawdust moisture content is more than 50% (which means that the wood is fresh), approximately 2.5 tons of fresh-cut wood will be needed to create a ton of pellets. If the sawdust moisture content is around 10-15%, approximately 1.5 tons of dry wood will be needed to create a ton of pellets.
The species of wood also affects the conversion, since different kinds of wood have different densities (pine and oak, for example, are usually more dense than poplar and aspen).
Wood Pellets vs Charcoal, Which is Better?
If you’re shopping for a pellet grill or trying to decide whether to use charcoal or wood pellets to fuel your home, you might be wondering whether wood pellets or charcoal is best.
Here is what you need to know.
Wood pellets are often used as a fuel source for homes, but they can also be used for cooking. Charcoal pellets are rarely used as a source of heat.
Most people agree that while wood pellets are ideal for heating, charcoal is the superior source of fuel for cooking, lending your food a more desirable flavor.
If you can make your own wood pellets, then this is the most cost-effective option. Even if you have to buy wood pellets, you’ll likely find that it’s cheaper than charcoal, particularly charcoal briquettes.
Ease of Use
Wood pellets tend to be easier to ignite than charcoal, although that’s certainly not always the case. Charcoal produces a bit more smoke, meaning it can be more difficult to use if you’re new to working with it.
Temperature Range and Control
When you work with charcoal, you’ll find that it gets much hotter much more quickly. Lump charcoal burns hotter than briquettes, and with charcoal, you can often achieve temperatures of over 800 degrees Fahrenheit!
That said, it can be more difficult to control the temperature when you are working with charcoal. Wood pellets offer a bit more precision and make it easier for you to fine-tune your temperature.
Wood pellets can run long and slow, as can charcoal. However, the key with charcoal is controlling your temperature – since charcoal can get much hotter, it’s also easier to burn through all of your charcoal in as little as a few hours.
How to Make Wood Pellets?
Most Complete Process Step by Step
To make wood pellets, you need to prepare the ready wood sawdust, size 3-5mm, moisture 10-15%. And feed the sawdust into the pellet machine, the pellet machine will press the sawdust inside the pelletizing room, the final pellets will press out from the pellet machine ring die holes.
If your material is not sawdust, you need a hammer mill to process your material into sawdust. And if your sawdust is wet(more than 15%), you need a dryer machine to remove the moisture. After you get ready sawdust.
First, you need prepare the materials for making wood pellets
To make wood pellets, first you need prepare the materials for making wood pellets. You can use cubic pieces of round wood, timber logs, timber slabs, timber branches, or sawdust and chips to make pellets. Materials should be chosen based on their costs and availability.
You should choose smaller pieces of material for making pellets as possible to save money on drying the small pieces of material.
You should also try to use the dry materials for your pellets as much as possible because these will be easier to dry and will end up being cheaper than wet materials.
The next step is to use a wood chipper machine to chip the logs into small wood chips with a diameter of 3-5cm;
When making wood pellets, the second step is to use a wood chipper machine to break down all your material into wood chips. The wood chipper is an important part of the machine that produces wood pellets, as the smaller size of the material will make it easier to turn into pellets. The final size of these chips should be 3-5cm in diameter. The first crushing stage makes your materials smaller so they can pass through a hammer mill easily. If your material is already sawdust (as opposed to large pieces of solid wood), there is no need to use a wood chipper.
The third step is to use a hammer mill to reduce the size of wood chips even further into sawdust with a diameter of (3-5) mm;
To make wood pellets, the third step involves reducing the size of wood chips even further into sawdust that has a diameter of (3-5) mm. This is the second crushing stage; the process reduces the chips to smaller pieces of sawdust, which can be more finely graded for direct use in pellet production. The size of the sawdust can be adjusted by changing the diameter of the holes in the hammer mill’s screen.
Next, you need to dry the sawdust in a rotary dryer till the moisture content of raw material is about 8-12%
Next, let the sawdust dry further in a rotary dryer until it reaches about 8-12% moisture content (if the sawdust is already 8-12% moisture content, you can skip this step).
To have wood pellets with uniform quality, you must ensure that the moisture content of raw material is about 8-12% (the moisture content should not be higher than 12%).
Then, use a pellet machine to process your materials into wood pellets
The Pellet Mill is the central part of the process for making pellets. Feed the dried sawdust into the machine’s hopper, and the pellet machine will press the sawdust by rotating rollers driven by an electric motor. The wood pellets will be pressed out from the roller holes and cutted by rotating knives until they reach a pre-set length.
Finally, you need cool down the finished pellets and pack them well for storage
After the raw material is pelletized into wood pellets, they need to be cooled down immediately. Cooling the newly produced pellets can help prevent the formation of fire hazards. It also helps keep them dry so they don’t rot or decay over time. You can use a counter-flow cooler to cool your wood pellets.
Packaging the cooled pellets in moisture-proof bags or containers will also help to prevent them from absorbing water from their environment.
Above is the detailed answer about how to make wood pellets, for commercial biomass pellet plant, if you want to make wood pellets at home at small scale for your own use, the process will be much much simple and easier. You just need to gather the ready dried sawdust and feed them into the small capacity pellet press by a hopper, and then you can get the wood pellets directly.