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Wood Pellets

Wood pellets are a fuel source and have gotten very popular in usage especially in the last couple of years.  Here are some things to know about them.

For many years, their usage was most concentrated in Europe, particularly Sweden and Austria.  Its only been in recent years with some of the oil price increases that they have been used more frequently in the US.  Its definitely gotten good enough to be a competitor to cordwood.

They are made of basically sawdust that has been pressed and heated into a small capsule, usually about an inch or so.
Specialized equipment is needed to create these, including a hammer mill and high pressure presses, so its really not a DIY job like cutting firewood.  Even if you have a good supply of log wood to begin with, it needs to go to a specialized plant to be reduced down.
The main advantage with this fuel is the fact that because of the concentrated pressing, it has a very efficient burn.  Some types claim over 90% efficiency.  However, the quality can vary greatly.  They are sold by weight, so a better quality fuel will give you more bang for your buck.  Its also easier to grab a 40 lb. bag or a one-ton pallet than move cordwood around from place to place. A couple things to consider:

Be sure to consider the ash content.  A pellet with a lot of ash will not burn as clean.  It should be under 1%.  Also, check that the moisture content is low, under 10%.  Most pellets are a standard size but its worth checking out if you are getting a big load.  No sense getting in fuel that won’t fit in your hopper.  In general, you’ll want to make sure its marked as PFI Premium.  This is a mark of good quality.




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