Alternative and renewable energy source have already been put on the agenda, because of the increasing price of fossil fuel and climate change. Bioenergy, a good substitute for fossil fuels, is getting more and more attention in the last years. Wood pellets and briquettes are relatively new type, but the most promising one of bioenergy fuel. As a fact, the global pellet and briquette market has got an exponential growth in the decade.
Pellets Vs. Briquettes
- Briquettes and pellets are both products deriving from the densification of a raw material.
- Biomass briquettes and pellets for fuel use are a product which aims to improve the characteristics of a certain raw material.
- The main reason for the densification is to increase their energy content per volume.
Advantages of Wood Pellets & Briquettes as Bioenergy
Below are the advantages of wood pellets and briquettes compared to un-pelletized biomass.
High volumetric energy density;
Option to use additives to change the chemical/material properties;
Lower water content in the fuel and therefore less biodegradation and greater storage stability;
Favorable dosing characteristics;
Less dust produced when handling;
Global Wood Pellet Production Continues to Grow
In the last four or five years, the growth of the global wood pellet manufacturing industry has usually been described in very positive terms as a thriving example of the growing “green energy” business model. This seems appro-priate given the rapid growth of global pellet production, capacity, imports, exports, current consumption, and especially projected pellet consumption.
Propelled by large government subsidies, green biomass legislation, and spe-cific green energy targets/goals established by most countries in Europe, the U.S. and Canada for the next 10–15 years, future production and consumption of wood biomass, and specifically wood pellets, does indeed look very bright!
Biomass pellets are dried and pelletized biomass materials. Sawdust, wood shavings and wood chips (main by-products of sawmill and forest industry) are the most common raw materials for pellet production. With the demand for wood pellets increasing, the traditional raw materials can no longer meet the production needs. The raw material types need to be broadened, so that to ensure sufficient raw material supplement of pelleting industry.
Storage and transport possibilities make wood pellets traded both internationally and regionally. Wood pellet business is promising for suppliers and manufacturers, and also popular and welcomed by consumers. Wood pellets are widely used by small, medium and large scale consumers. They can be used in large CHP-plants as well as in small pellets stove. Pellets can easily be made at home by a small wood pellet mill and be used in pellet stoves. And it is also suitable to be produced through industrial pelleting plant.
Wood Pellet Market Forecast
Regarding wood pellets production and consumption, Europe and North America are the leading regions, and Latin America and Asia are emerging markets. In Russia, the production is mainly concentrated to the northwestern and middle regions where there are both a developed forest industry and transport infrastructures. The world’s biggest wood pellet plant with projected annual production of 900 000 tonnes is constructed in Viborg in Russia. The intended consumers are large power plants in Europe.You are welcome to send an inquiry if need details of our pelleting plant and briquetting plant, or have any question about pellet mill process, wood pellet business and briquetting production. We are always at your service.
Read More: Promising and Profitable Raw Materials for Pelletizing and Briquetting Process >>
In the below table a summary of the properties and characteristics of the different raw materials are presented.
Wood Briquettes (Cylinder)
Biomass Briquettes: Pellets are small round rods whereas briquettes are bigger and can show different forms. So in a broader context, pellets might be described as a bulk material whereas briquettes can be stacked.
Wood Materials: Sawdust, wood shavings, wood chips and residual pieces of saw logs left from sawn goods production. Whole logs (saw logs) which cannot be used for pulp and paper production are also suitable materials for pelletizing.
Wood Pellets Markets: Main producers of wood pellets in Europe are Sweden, Latvia, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Estonia, Russia, Lithuania, Poland, France, and Austria. Biggest importers of industrial pellets in Europe are Belgium, UK, The Netherlands, Sweden, and Denmark. Biggest end users of EN Plus pellets are Italy, Germany, Austria, Sweden, Denmark.
Application of Wood Pellets for Energy Production
Industrial pellets used for power and heating plants for electricity and heat production.
Prime quality (EN Plus pellets) Pellets used for small heating plants and home heating or cooking individually at home.
Application: Wood bark is by-product in pulp mills and saw mills where the logs are used debarked. It is generally used in smaller power plants.
Bark Pellets Characteristic
Low moisture content: 2,3%; Ash content: 3,6%; NCV 18,45 GJ per mt. Nitrogen: 0,8%; Chlorine: 0,01%; Ash melting temperature was rather high, 1500 degr C.
In the most of the pellet mills bark that is together with the wood is used for pellet production. In a case bark coming from the sawmill as a by-product it is mostly used as a biofuel for the dryer of the pellet plant.
Olive Cake Pellets
Olive cake is a product of the second extraction of the olive oil and it is an ideal kind of resource for biofuel pellet production.
Olive Cake Pellets Market: For several years starting from 2001 olive cake was widely used in Belgium, UK and later in Poland for co firing with coal. Another important exporter of olive cake is Tunisia.
Olive cake pellets were used widely in UK for combustion. They have relatively high ash content (about 6-8%). Olive cake pellets are mainly produced in Spain and Tunis.
Sunflower Husk Pellets
Sunflower Husk Pellets (SFHP) are made of the scales of sunflower nuts. They are a by-product of sunflower oil extraction process and can be found in big quantities in sunflower oil factories. Sunflower husks have very low value as an animal food. However, as biofuel sunflower husk pellets has been successfully used in UK power plants and also in Poland. Big amounts of sunflower husks are produced in South Russia and in Ukraine.
Biofuel sunflower husk pellets are most close to wood pellets, which makes them one of the best biomass options. The biggest problem of making sunflower husk into pellets may be their relatively high dust content.
Palm Kernel Shell (PKS)
Palm Kernel Expeller (PKE) and Palm Kernel Shells (PKS) are the products coming from the agricultural sector of South East Asia, A lot of Palm Products are of Malaysian origin. PKE and PKS are good biomass materials for pellet manufacturing plant: ash is rather low, it does not have strong smell, net calorific value is rather high.
Peat pellets has not found for themselves a big market. Samples which has been offered to us had a moisture content about 16-17%, ash content about 2-3% and NCV about 15.5-16.5 GJ per mt.
Grape Residue Pellets
Grape cake and grape flour can be used to make pellets. Unfortunately the use of grape cake and grape flour for bioenergy production has not become very popular despite there is a lot of this residue such as in Spain
Grape pit flour pellets had moisture about 12%, Ash content was 2.62%,NCV 17,5 GJ per mt. Sulphur was 0.22%.Nitrogen was 1.44%.Ash melting temperature was 1500 degr C.
Grape cake pellets had moisture content 11%, Ash content was 6%, NCV was 16.7%.Sulphur content was 0.27%.Nitrogen was 1.88%. Oil content was 2%.
Experimental bagasse pellets which has been available for us had a moisture content about 8%, ash content was about 6-6,5 %, suphur content 0,13%. NCV was about 16,3-16,5 GJ per mt.
Sugar Beet Pulp Pellets
Sugar beets are the second only to sugar cane for sources of sugar. The pulp that is left after the sugar is taken out the roots of the sugar beet can be eaten by animals. Dried beet pulp is a dried fibrous residue left after most of the sugar has been extracted. It can be produced and shipped in many forms: plain dried, molasses dried and pellets.
Seems that a serious obstacle for using sugar beet pellets as a biofuel is the fact that sugar beet residue is widely used as an animal food.
A lot of straw in bales and straw pellets are traditionally used for energy production in Denmark within the State subsidy program for the agricultural sector.
Moisture content of the pellets was 8%, ash content 12%, Sulphur 0.06%, Chlorine 0.22 %, Nitrogen 0.47%. NCV was 16.4 GJ per mt. Mechanical durability of the pellets was quite low - 88%. Biggest problem with the rice straw is it's very high ash content and also high Chlorine.
Reed pellets which has been available to us had moisture content 11%, ash content was 5%,NCV 17.44 GJ per mt. Nitrogen was 0.21%,Sulphur 0,06%,Chlorine 0.26%. Mechanical durability was 88%.Ash melting temperature was 1150 degr C.
Reed has similar problem as straw. Its higher Chlorine content may be dangerous for the boiler because of the slagging of the ash in alkaline media. Pellets that were available for us also seemed to be not enough strong.
Peanut Husk Pellets
Peanut Husk Pellets ( PHP) or Peanut Shell Pellets ( PSP) were imported from USA European power plants for co firing with coal.
Moisture content of PHP according our tests was about 8%, ash content 2.5-3%, NCV about 17.5-17.6 GJ per mt, ash melting temperature about 1200 degr C. Sulphur content was 0.06%, Nitrogen 1,16%. To some extend PHP were comparable with wood pellets.