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Benefits of Wood Pellets

Nowadays, green house effect and other environmental problems are more and more difficult to handle. Burning of fossil fuels, coal, petroleum products and natural gas are not only rapidly increasing the CO2 concentration in atmosphere and oceans, but also consuming the limited energy resources little by little. As a result, the appeals to innovative environmental heating solutions are more than ever before, of which the research and use of biomass pellets occupies a large part. The context introduces the attributes advantages of wood pellets as well as their comparison with traditional heating materials and original biomass fuels.

Comparison of wood pellets and traditional fuels
As the green fuels made from agricultural waste and forestry byproducts, wood pellets have many competitive advantages over traditional heating materials. The following information depicts their difference and comparison from seven aspects.

straw burningstraw burning

traditional fuel gaswood pellets comparision with traditional fuel

traditional fuel coaltraditional coal

Item
Wood Pellets
Traditional Fuels
Volume
Compressed
Large
Combustion Efficiency
High
Low
Environmental
No harmful gas released
Pollute environment
Residuals
Can be used as fertilizer
Uneasy to dispose
Cost
Cheap
Expensive
Convenience
Easy to store and deliver
Cost higher to store and deliver
Renewable
Yes
No

Volume: Wood pellets, as the compressed end products of various raw materials, have much smaller size (weigh about 650kg per cubic meter ) compared with the large chunk of traditional solid fuels, such as coal and briquette, let alone the liquid and gas ones.
Combustion Efficiency: Compared to the high volatile content and high fire point of traditional fuels, the coal content of wood pellets is as high as 75%-85%. The purity is so ideal that no impurities unable to produce heat are contained, which successfully enhances their combustion efficiency and reduces their waste residuals.
Environmental: On one hand, since some wood pellets are manufactured from agricultural or forestry straw waste, the environmental pollution resulted from straw burning and random piling is decreased. On the other hand, no sulphur and phosphor are contained in them, so the acid rain caused by sulfur dioxide and phosphorus pentoxide produced while burning will be avoided. Both of these play an essential role in improving green house effect and atmospheric contamination.
Residuals: Capable of recycling to make profits, the after-combustion ash residual of wood pellets is superior organic potash fertilizer with wide range of application. On the contrary, that of traditional fuels is clay residues which are uneasy to dispose and environmental harmful.
Cost: Wood pellets are economically competitive compared with traditional fossil fuel and electric heating solution, which plus its high burning efficiency, low storage expense and useful residuals makes it much more cost effective and investing worthy.
Convenience: Bags-packed wood pellets are easy to store and deliver. Generally speaking, one ton of them can be held in fifty 18-kg bags and stack in a small area, which saves the storage and delivery trouble existing in liquid and natural gas fuels.
Renewable: Wood pellets are a sustainable and carbon neutral resource made from natural materials including wood waste, agricultural straw waste, forestry byproducts and so on. Thus it can be seen that the raw materials for processing this innovative environmental fuels are unlimited and renewable, which can also be proved by the data collection of Pellet Fuels Institute.

Comparison of wood pellets and unprocessed biomass fuels
Although the unprocessed biomass fuels are cheaper than wood pellets, they are not as widely applicable, efficient, convenient, environmental and cost-effective as them. The following form shows how they differ from each other.

Item
Wood Pellets
Original Biomass Fuels
Application
Wide
Narrow
Density
High
Low
Efficiency
High
Low
Environmental
Low discharged dust consistence
Dense smoke, particles and other pollutants
Convenience
Easy to store and deliver
Require larger storage space


Application: Wood pellets are widely applied as the fuel not only in such industrial field as biomass fuel plant, power station and fertilizer factory but also for household heating and city’s service industries including hotel, restaurant, bath, etc. However, Original biomass fuels are not always suitable for so many heating uses due to their requirements for considerably larger storage space.and their energy content is less predictable.
Density: As the benchmark of fuel’s combustion characteristics, the density of wood pellets is much higher than that of unprocessed biomass fuels after the former experiences chipping, crushing, drying, pelletizing, cooling, screening and packing, which lengthens their burning time and improves their features.
Efficiency: Low moisture and ash content makes wood pellets an efficient heat source with high combustion efficiency when compared to original biomass fuels. In fact, nearly all of the material in them is burnt and converted into heat.
Environmental: The burning of original biomass fuels, such as straw, sawdust, bagasse and rice chaff, will rapid increase the smoke, particulate matters and other pollutants in air, harmful to human health and environmental quality. Better than that, the discharged dust consistence of wood pellets is or less than 80mg per cubic meters, which makes them more environmental friendly and trust worthy.
Convenience: The weight of wood pellets is about 650kg per cubic meters, while that of unprocessed biomass fuels is as low as about 200kg (differ according to different categories). From the figures listed we can see the former needs at least three times less storage space, which makes them considerably more convenient to store and transport.

wood pellet

wood pellet fuel

biomass fuel pellets


Attributes of wood pellets and their corresponding advantages
Wood pellets consist of combustible basis, inorganic substance and water, mainly containing C, H, O, a little amount of N and S as well as ash and moisture. Different components constitution is as follows:
Combustion value≥99%
Heat efficiency≥87%
Diameter: 6-12mm
Smoke blackness (Ringelmann black degree)<1
Discharged dust consistence ≤80mg/m³
Oxygen: 37.94%
Nitrogen: 0.08%
Sulfur: 0.02%
Hydrogen: 5.27%
Ash content: 1.5%
Water content: 8%
Property: Wood pellets are solid particles elaborately processed by specialized production line. Their volume is so well compressed that storage space is saved, delivery is made easier and shipping cost is reduced.
Calorific/heat value: The exquisite processing and manufacturing enhances heat value of wood pellets, reaching to 4400±100Kcal/Kg. One ton of them equals to about 0.6 ton of standard coal or 0.41 ton of fuel oil. Besides, the calorific value of those after carbonization is as high as 7000-8000 Kcal/Kg.
Purity: Wood pellets have extremely high purity, 75-85% of coal, 1.5% of ash and 8% of water. Such impurities (gangue, stone, etc. ) that consume heat instead of producing it are absolutely not contained, thus the cost for unnecessary heating is decreased yet efficiency for pure combustion is improved.
Sulfur and phosphor: Very little sulfur and phosphor exists in wood pellets, so they won’t corrode furnace and will lengthen its life span consequently. Moreover, no sulfur dioxide and phosphorus pentoxide are produced during combustion process, which avoids the appearance of acid rain, improving green house effect and atmospheric contamination.
Residues: There are only a few residues left after burning, which reduces required laying place and lowers cost of discharging. Capable of recycling to make profits, the after-combustion ash of wood pellets is the organic potash fertilizer with wide range of application and superior quality.
Density: Density, as a benchmark of fuel’s features, is a vital factor influencing the choice of customers and markets. Generally, higher density contributes to longer combusting time and better fuel attributes. Wood pellets, with a density of about 1.1-1.3t per cubic meters which is higher than traditional fuels and original biomass materials, have attracted more and more attentions.

All in all, wood pellets are a kind of environmental friendly and cost effective novel heating materials widely used in industrial manufacturing, household heating and some service industries. With the advantages of high efficiency and convenience, low pollution and residues, wide applicable ranges and renewable property, they are and have been used as a prospective substitute for traditional fuels, such as coal, petroleum products and natural gas. In this day when energy crisis emerges one after another, wood pellets are undoubtedly a new way out.