Wood Pellets

Wood pellets are made from wood shavings and sawdust and are used in highly efficient and convenient automatic wood boilers.

 

Wood pellets are made from wood shavings and sawdust and are used in highly efficient and convenient automatic wood boilers. Because they have a low moisture and ash content wood pellets burn very efficiently. What's more they are compact and easy to store. Typically pellets come in bags (ideal for stoves or smaller boiler systems) or are delivered in bulk by truck (ideal for boiler systems with bulk stores). Wood pellets can be ordered from local fuel merchants.

Pellets facts (Typical)

Dry matter content     90-92%
Ash content               0.5%     
Diameter                   6-8mm
Length                      4*diameter,
Density                     650 kg/m3,
Volume                     1.54m3/tonne pellet,
Energy                      4.7 kWh/kg pellet
Benefit                      1kg wood pellet replaces 0.41kg of light fuel oil

Wood pellets are upgraded or refined wood fuels which have been produced from sawdust, grinding dust, shavings, bark or cutter chips by drying and pressing. No additives are needed to produce them. Lignin released in the pressing process binds the wood material. They are compact and easy to store and use for fully automatic burning in wood pellet boilers or stoves.

Good quality wood pellets with a moisture content of 8% will have a calorific value of approximately 4,700 kWh/tonne.

 

Product Sustainability

 

The heating market is generally a market which contains guaranteed long term customers. If a customer makes a decision about the investment for future heating system he wants to 'buy' satisfaction for years.

The key issues are to convince the customers at the point of decision of the new heating option and to provide them the best services during the live cycle of the wood pellet heating system.

Quality pellets are essential to ensure trouble-free operation of your stove and clean combustion. Only buy pellets with a European quality mark and a complete fuel analysis. Boilers fuelled by wood pellets offer a convenient, environmentally sound and low cost way to heat your home or building.

 

Pellet Manufacture

 

Larger scale pellet production plants with a capacity of 50,000 tonnes per year or more are common throughout Europe. There are currently two major producers of wood pellets on the island of Ireland. D Pellet Ltd www.dpellet.ie is based in County Kilkenny and use forest thinnings as the raw material source. Balcas Ltd www.balcs.com are located in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland and use sawmill by-product as the source material for pellets. Both companies produce bulk and bagged pellets that are available through distributors and agents on an island wide basis.

Smaller scale plants capable of producing 1,000-5,000 tonnes per year are also available.

Key factors contributing to the economic viability of pellet production are:

  • Raw materials - are they available from own residues of the existing production or readily available locally
  • Pellets processing - is it possible to integrate with existing manufacturing processes or develop a stand alone production plant
  • Is there an ensured future supply of raw material at competitive prices for the lifetime of the plant

Some positive aspects for pellet production include:

  • The technical know-how of wood pelleting technology is available and can used immediately
  • Existing market structure of solid fuels can be adapted for pellet sales
  • Potential Export market for surplus pellet production
  • Wood pellet production is approximate to animal pellet feed mills
  • Existing Know How at the sawmill and/or AGRI-CO-OP
  • COFORD, the National Council for Forest Research and Development, are supporting a number of supply/chain projects in the area of biomass energy
 

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