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How are wood pellets made?

Wood pellets are ecological and profitable fuels produced from sawdust, tree bark or even branches. Previously classified among the most economical heating solutions, they have been sold at an outrageous price since 2022. Fortunately, it is entirely possible to make your own to reduce costs, if you have the necessary equipment, that is to say a pellet press or a vegetable shredder, and if you have the means to obtain the essential raw materials.

What do you need to make wood pellets?

Above all, you need pure wood, that is, one that does not contain plastic or other waste. It can be sawdust, bark, grass, bamboo, branches or even corn stalks. There is only one rule to follow: avoid resinous woods, as they increase the risk of fire and clog your pellet stove quite quickly. Also, you absolutely must invest in a pellet press or a plant crusher, ideally with hammers, to obtain very small pieces. Although expensive, these machines can really represent a profitable investment in the long term. Finally, it is strongly recommended to have a humidity meter.

What are the steps to follow to make wood pellets?

Making wood pellets is relatively simple. Here are the steps to follow.

1.     Grind the wood

To begin, you must grind the wood using the pellet press or the hammer mill to obtain pieces of approximately 5 mm in diameter. These are the pellets. Please note that you will sometimes have to put them through the machine twice, or even more, to get to the correct size.

2.     Dry the wood

After grinding, you must then allow the granules to dry in order to reduce their humidity level to less than 10%, which you will measure using the humidity meter. To do this, you have 2 options, depending on the quantity to be produced:

  • Air dry for at least 24 hours
  • Drying in an industrial dryer or in a barrel heater

We also remind you that sawdust generally does not need to go through drying. The pellets are ready for use after this step.

How to store wood pellets?

Once they have cooled, store the wood pellets in airtight paper or plastic bags placed in a dry, cool place protected from direct sunlight. You must absolutely respect these conditions to benefit from optimal performance of the heating solution.

En conclusion

Manufacturing and using wood pellets can be very economical if you follow the conditions and steps presented below. You will also be making an eco-responsible gesture by recycling wood waste. As an example, you need approximately 1,5 tonnes of sawdust to make 1 tonne of pellets, with moisture loss being the main cause of the weight difference.