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What Are Wood Pellets

Blog 53

Wood pellets are a biofuel made by compressing wood fibers together.

Most wood pellets come from the leftover bits of wood after logs are turned into lumber and other useful products in sawmills. Now, even leftover parts from forests and lower-quality logs that were once thrown away are being used to make wood pellets. By using these leftover fibers, the wood pellet industry is helping to reduce waste and turn it into a valuable, low-carbon fuel.

To make wood pellets, producers first remove the moisture from the wood fibers. Then they grind the fibers into dust. After that, they press the dust into small, round shapes called pellets. These pellets are usually about 6 or 8 mm wide and up to 40 mm long. Heat is used in this process to help the natural glue in the wood, called lignin, hold the particles together. The result is a dry, dense product with a lot of energy that’s easy to handle and transport long distances.

The picture on the left shows a small wood pellet production line. It uses wood as the raw material to make dense, top-quality pellet fuel.

Here’s how it works: first, the wood is crushed into small pieces. Then, a machine called a pellet mill shapes the pieces into pellets. After that, the pellets cool down. Finally, they’re packaged and stored.

Scientists and global organizations agree that wood pellets are a good biofuel because they have less of a negative effect on the climate than fossil fuels. The United Nations’ top group on climate change, the IPCC, says that biomass can help reduce greenhouse gases compared to fossil fuels, but only if it’s used in a sustainable and efficient way.

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