What are the Best Raw Materials To Make Wood Pellets From?

Hi, I’m Chris. I started PelHeat.com back in 2007. I’ve bought, made and sold many different types of pellet mill. I’ve also made and burnt countless tons of wood pellets. I’m now going to share everything I’ve learnt over the years about wood pellets.

Before you can make wood pellets you obviously have to have a source of raw material to process. A question I’ve been asked repeatedly over the years is ‘what is the best raw material to make wood pellets?‘ Well to answer that question we need to think about what the wood pellets will be used for. For instance, will the wood pellets be used for heating fuel, animal bedding or BBQs?

Your choice of raw material is probably the most impact factor that will dictate how successful your project is. For instance, is your raw material free or will you have to pay for it? Are there sufficient amounts of this raw material close to where you will make the pellets? How reliable is the supply of this raw material? Resolving all these questions should be the first thing you do before you purchase any equipment such as a pellet mill. Furthermore, how you prepare that raw material can also influence potential issues such as a blocked pellet mill die. Below I’ll go through the different potential uses for wood pellets and how that will influence your choice of raw material.

The Best Raw Material For Fuel Wood Pellets?

Wood Pellet Raw Materials
Your choice of raw material will dictate the quality of the wood pellet fuel

In terms of making wood pellets to be used as fuel, you need to focus on the end user and their pellet burning appliance. For instance, will end user be using a small pellet stove or large industrial pellet boiler? Pellet stoves are generally less tolerant to higher ash content wood pellets, where large scale boilers have systems to deal with higher percentages of ash content.

What Effects the Ash Content of Wood Pellets?

The amount of ash produced from burning wood pellets depends on the chosen raw material

The ash content of the pellets is primarily impacted by the choice of raw material. For instance, if you want to achieve the highest standard of wood pellets then you want to avoid wood bark. Wood bark increases the ash content of the wood pellets over the ‘premium zone’ of 1-2%. Therefore if you wish to process logs, you first need to remove the bark. However, if your raw material is wood chips, removing bark is not going to be possible. Therefore, your available raw material will dictate which end users can use the wood pellets for fuel. It will obviously also impact the value per ton of the wood pellets.

There are small pellet stoves which can handle ‘standard’ grade wood pellets with an ash content over 2%, however, it is a small percentage of the pellet stove market. Therefore if you are looking for your largest potential customer base you will need a raw material with little to no bark.

Avoid Making Wood Fuel Pellets from Processed Materials

Chipboard waste is not a suitable raw material for making wood pellets

Over the years I’ve often been asked if materials such as MDF and Chipboard can be used to make wood pellets. While these materials can be processed into wood pellets, I would not recommend that you do so for fuel pellets. The emissions generated from burning these wood pellets can be quite dangerous, and potentially illegal. This also includes making wood pellets from painted wood.

The Best Raw Material For Animal Bedding Wood Pellets?

Animal Bedding Wood Pellets
Horse Bedding Wood Pellets – Image: Tractorsupply.com

With animal bedding wood pellets, ash content is obviously not a concern. Therefore it is possible to use logs and wood chip which still contains bark. The absorbency of the pellets is not dictated by the source of wood. However, there are other factors to consider. As stated above with fuel pellets, do not use processed wood as the raw material. Using such a raw material could create health complications for the animal. Therefore you only want to use virgin raw materials. This could be logs, wood chips, shavings or sawdust.

The Best Raw Material For BBQ Wood Pellets?

BBQ Wood Pellets
BBQ Delight Wood Pellets

Particularly when it comes to BBQ wood pellets no form of painted of processed wood should be used. The smoke from BBQ wood pellets provides the food with a great flavour, but you don’t want that flavour to be toxic chemicals. In terms of the type of wood you can use for BBQ wood pellet there are many to choose from. It could be Apple, Cherry, Oak, Hickory and Alder to name just a few. In terms of bark with BBQ wood pellets its a bit different, it can actually provide a benefit. The bark of the wood can produce some of the best flavours in the food. Wood pellet BBQ’s don’t actually burn significant amounts of wood pellets, therefore there are less potential issues with ash build up.

IMPORTANT: Avoid Contaminated Wood!

Contaminated Wood
Contaminated wood is not a suitable raw material for making wood pellets

So above we talked about avoiding processed/painted wood. Well, there is another raw material you should also avoid. If the raw material may be contaminated with stones or metal you should not consider processing it. Even small pieces of stone or metal can cause serious damage to a pellet mill. Best case scenario is some minor damage to the rollers and die which will need replacing. The worst-case scenario is it could cause significant and expensive damage to the pellet mill drive system/gearbox and pellet mill motor.

Ideally, You Want To Find a Dry Raw Material

Wet Wood
Wet wood as a raw material creates significant challenges

If you have a large pellet plant and dryer, you can process wet (above 15% moisture) wood into pellets. However, it still costs money to do so. On a small scale, however, there are very limited options to dry wood to below 15% to process into pellets. Therefore really you need to find a dry raw material. Now back 20 years ago there used to be clean/dry sawdust freely available. For some companies, it was even regarded as a waste product. As such, they would actually pay to have it taken away. Well, times have changed, and most companies who produce such material today realise its value. Therefore now they are either processing it themselves into wood pellets or briquettes, or they are charging for it.

A Local Source of Raw Material to Make Wood Pellets

You want to find a local raw material to avoid high transportation costs

When it comes to a wood pellet businesses the most significant costs are haulage of the raw material and finished wood pellets to customers. Those that have gone out of business it has often been due to increasing transportation costs. Searching further afield to find suitable raw materials and having to transport wood pellets over longer distances kills profit margins. Therefore finding a suitable source of raw material local to where you intend to make the wood pellets is vital.

Conclusions on the Best Raw Materials To Make Wood Pellets From

Really before you even consider purchasing a pellet mill or pellet plant you need to be confident in your raw material. First, you need to find a raw material that will suit your end users. You then want to make sure it’s not processed wood, it’s free from contamination and ideally dry. Finally, the location of the raw material and how you will get it to your pellet mill/plant is important. Keeping transportation costs under control will be vital to the success of your project.

Do You Need to Use Binders/Lubricants to Make Wood Pellets?

Hi, I’m Chris. I started PelHeat.com back in 2007. I’ve bought, made and sold many different types of pellet mill. I’ve also made and burnt countless tons of wood pellets. I’m now going to share everything I’ve learnt over the years about wood pellets.

So if you’ve started looking into how to make wood pellets, you may have come across the discussions over the use of binders. So in this post, I’ll discuss what binders are and if you’ll need them to make wood pellets.

What is a Pellet Binder?

A pellet binder is an additional material which will be mixed into your raw woody biomass material to aid the process of making pellets. A typical example would be a form of modified corn starch in powdered form. The benefits of using a binder can be increased pellet mill productivity, improved pellet quality, improved roller and die life and finally reduced energy consumption. Pellet binders can also help to provide lubrication to the process and reduce the likelihood of a blocked pellet mill die.

Water and Vegetable Oil for Making Pellets

So first and foremost before using a pellet binder, your attention should focus on water and vegetable oil. If the pellets are exiting the pellet mill in a dry crumbly form adding in a small amount of water to the process can improve pellet quality. The additional water will do two things. It will increase the compression within the die and also increase temperature. This in term will help to melt the natural lignin within the wood to help the pellets form. However, adding too much moisture can generate too much pressure, leading to a blocked pellet mill die.

Adding in small amounts of vegetable oil into the pellet making process can help to lubricate the pellet mill die. This can avoid a pellet mill die blockage by keeping the compression generated under control. However, adding too much vegetable oil will significantly reduce the density of the wood pellets produced. Therefore their density will not be sufficient to withstand packaging and transport. So the addition of vegetable oil should be used sparingly and with care.

What Different Types of Pellet Binder Are Available?

In the feed pellet industry, there are many different types and brands of pellet binder available. They not only aid the pellet making process but they can also add nutritional value to the feed pellets. However, with wood pellet production, if a binder is used more than likely it would be a form of modified corn starch.

Matam Inc Pellet Binders

Pelletbond Pellet Binder
A bag of PelletBond pellet binder

One manufacturer of modified corn starch pellet binders is Matam Inc with its product PelletBond. It is designed to act as both a wood pellet binder and pellet mill lubricant. The further benefits of the pellet binder being reduced pellet mill energy consumption and increase productivity simultaneously. This product can be particularly useful when trying to make wood pellets with a small pellet mill. The reason being with a small pellet mill it’s harder to get up to the optimum operating temperature to make wood pellets.

Borregaard Pellet Binders

Lignotech Pellet Binder
A 25kg bag of Lignotech pellet binder

Another pellet binder manufacture is Borregaard with its product Lignotech. This product is heavily used in the animal feed pellet industry, however, it could also potentially be used in wood pellet production. The pellet binder comes in 25kg brown paper bags and its in the form of a powder. Therefore to be able to use this pellet binder you need a way to add in very small and precise amounts of powder into the raw material and pellet mill.

Kiotechagil/Anpario Pellet Binders

25kg bag of Mastercube Pellet Binder

Kiotechagil developed a pellet binder called Mastercube, however, it now appears to be produced by Anpario. This pellet binder can do some of the work of producing the pellet chemically instead of purely mechanically with the pellet mill. Therefore, again this presents the benefit of reduced pellet mill energy consumption. Mastercube is produced from plant gums and mineral hardeners. It can help to produce a harder more durable pellet while improving pellet consistency. Mastercube is a popular pellet binder for animal feed pellet plants. However, for wood pellet production I would use a modified corn starch product such as PelletBond.

How Much Binder is Required When Making Wood Pellets?

Typically between 1-3% of the raw material to make wood pellets is made up of a binder when making wood pellets. Therefore the actual impact on cost per ton is very minimal.

Small Pellet Mills Benefit Most From Pellet Binders

Typical small pellet mill from China

So as you may have gathered from the information above, pellet binders make the process of making pellets simpler. It can take some of the work away from the pellet mill to aid in the process and make good quality pellets. This is a particular benefit for small pellet mills, particularly those purchased from China. For the following reasons:

Small Pellet Mill Operating Temperatures and Binders

To produce good quality wood pellets the pellet mill die needs to get over 80 degrees Celsius, this can be quite tricky for small pellet mills. Therefore, adding in 1-3% pellet binder into the raw material mix can be the difference between a small pellet mill making wood pellets at all.

Small Pellet Mill Dies for Wood Pellets

How To Avoid a Blocked Pellet Mill Die
Pellet binders are particularly useful with poor quality pellet mill dies

When you purchase a small pellet mill from China, for instance, the machine arrives with a single die. Now, really to make wood pellets you want a pellet mill die with a specific compression ratio to suit that raw material. As this is not provided with many small pellet mills from China, you have to work with what you’ve got. Therefore, through using a pellet binder it’s possible (partially) get around the issue of a die not being ideal for making wood pellets.

Furthermore, the dies that come with small pellet mills from China are often drilled to a poor standard. Rough die holes mean a high likelihood of a blocked pellet mill die. Therefore, a pellet binder can also help to lubricate the process and reduce the odds of a blocked die.

Conclusions on Pellet Binders for Making Wood Pellets

Large scale wood pellet manufacturing facilities do often use a small percentage of a pellet binder such as PelletBond, however, it is more of optional extra. With their equipment, they are able to control the pellet making process precisely in terms of particle size and importantly moisture content. On a small scale, however, it is much more difficult to keep the variables under control at all times. Therefore, when it comes to making wood pellets o a small scale the use of a pellet binder is less of an option. In fact, I would say if you intend to purchase a small pellet mill from China, for instance, a pellet binder is essential to make wood pellets.

How do you Avoid a Blocked Wood Pellet Mill Die?

Hi, I’m Chris. I started PelHeat.com back in 2007. I’ve bought, made and sold many different types of pellet mill. I’ve also made and burnt countless tons of wood pellets. I’m now going to share everything I’ve learnt over the years about wood pellets.

When it comes to making wood pellets the biggest problem that you will come across is a blocked pellet mill die. In this post I wish to explain some of the most common reasons a pellet mill can become blocked and how to go about fixing the issue. First I’ll provide some highlights on how to avoid a blocked wood pellet mill die.

How To Avoid a Blocked Pellet Mill Die (Highlights)

  1. Prepar the Pellet Mill Die

    A polishing material needs to be processed through the pellet mill to prepare a new die or to clean up the holes within an older/used die.

  2. Prepare the Raw Material

    If you wood is too moist (above 15% moisture content) or the particles are too large (above 6mm) this could also lead to a pellet mill die blockage.

  3. Start by Feeding the Pellet Mill Slowly

    Until a pellet mill die is up to its optimum operating tempreture (80 degrees celcius +) its very easy to feed in too much material which will lead to a die blockage.

So the above is the ‘highlights’ of what leads to a blocke wood pellet mill die, now lets discuss the above points in more detail.

1. Preparing the Pellet Mill Die to Avoid Blockages

Wet Wood will lead to a Pellet Mill Die Blockage
Using wet wood in the pellet mill is likely to lead to a die blockage

So something worth noting is that it’s just as easy to block a new die as it is to block an older used die, but for slightly different reasons. A new die (particularly if purchased from China) will have imperfections within the die hole from the drilling process. The hole may appear smooth on its inner surface, however commonly the drilling process will also create small scratches. Even these small scratches can create enough resistance during making pellets to lead to a die blockage. Remember, if the pellet mill rollers cannot generate enough force to overcome the resistance of the die holes, that leads to a blockage.

An older die which was previously used to make wood pellets but has been left idle for more than a few days can create a different issue. Moisture within the air or from a previous production run will lead the die forming rust/corrosion on the inside of the die holes. This again makes the inner surface of the hole rough, which means the roller cannot generate enough force to push the material through the die, leading to a blockage.

How do you Polish a Pellet Mill Die?

How To Avoid a Blocked Pellet Mill Die
Even with a new pellet mill die, you want to run a polishing material through the machine to avoid blockages.

So to resolve the issues noted above of a rough surface within the pellet mill die holes, we need a polishing material to pass through the machine. This will typically be a fairly loose biomass material (I prefer using wheat bran), about 10-15% vegetable oil and about 1-2% fine sand. You mix this material thoroughly and slowly process it repeatably through the pellet mill several times. This polishing material will help to clean up the surface of the die holes and remove corrosion.

Pro Tip: Use a polishing material sparingly as if used too often reduce the life of the die and rollers by wearing away their surface. Once the inlet tape on a die has warn away the compression ratio on the die will be unsuitable to make good quality pellets.

2. Preparing the Raw Material

So we have addressed the first issue which can lead to a block pellet mill die by polishing the die holes so they are nice and smooth. Now we need to examine the raw material to make wood pellets.

What is the Particle Size of your Wood?

Hammer Mill Screens
Use a 5mm hammer mill screen to produce 6mm wood pellets.

You need to make sure your woody biomass has been properly processed through a hammer mill with a 5mm screen. This is to ensure that the particles you are placing in the pellet mill (with a 6mm die) are smaller than the diameter of the die hole.

Pro Tip: You also need to make sure there is no contamination within your raw material (stones/metal). These cannot only lead to a die blockage they can also cause some serious damage to the pellet mill itsself. This could include a damaged gearbox or motor.

What is the Moisture Content of your Raw Material?

Pellet Mill Die Blockage Due To Moisture
If steam (C) cannot leave the pellet mill, it will be absorbed by the raw material. This will likely lead to a die blockage.

As you may know from reading the main how to make wood pellets page, knowing and controlling the moisture content of your raw material is vital. The general rule to make wood pellets is you want the raw biomass below 15% moisture content. However, the material also needs to have a consistent moisture content throughout the batch. Taking a sample of raw material which is not consistent may produce a reading between 12-15%, which will produce good pellets. However, if there is a section of material above this, say 20%+, this could easily lead to a pellet mill die blockage when it enters the pellet mill. Therefore preparing the raw material to have a consistent moisture content throughout the batch is essential. No only to avoid blocking the pellet mill die, but to produce consistently good quality wood pellets.

Pro Tip: Even if you have a raw material prepared with the ideal particle size and moisture content, a pellet binder should be considered. A pellet binder can aid the process and reduce the chances of a blocked pellet mill die.

3. Feeding the Pellet Mill Slowly to Avoid a Die Blockage

Blocked Pellet Mill Die
Feeding a cold pellet mill too quickly will also likely lead to a die blockage.

Good quality wood pellets are only produced once the pellet mill and die get up to operating temperature, which is over 80 degrees Celsius. At this point, the natural lignin within the wood will melt and bind the pellets together. However, before the pellet mill reaches this operating temperature it is very easy to block the die if the raw material is fed into the die more quickly than it can process the material. You want to make sure there is sufficient material in front of the pellet mill rollers, but not to completely cover them.

Pro Tip: The pellet making process creates heat, which releases moisture from the raw material. Filling the pellet mill processing chamber with raw material stops this moisture escaping (steam). This steam is then absorbed by the incoming raw material, which means a raw material above 15% moisture, leading to a die blockage. Hence, only feed the pellet mill at a rate which it can process.

As the temperature of the pellet mill rollers and die increase the productivity of the pellet mill will also increase. At this point, you can increase the rate of raw material feed into the pellet mill. However, you still don’t want to over feed the pellet mill to stop steam escaping. Even at operating tempreture this will still likely lead to a die blockage.

What do you do once you have Finished Making Wood Pellets?

Ok, let’s presume you have finished making wood pellets. You obviously want to leave the pellet mill in a condition that means the die is not blocked for the next production run. Therefore for the last few minutes of operation add in quite a bit of vegetable oil into the mix. This will leave a soft oily material in the die, and make it much easier to start making pellets again next time.

Pro Tip: If you are leaving the pellet mill for more than a few days you will need to run the polishing material through the die again. This will clean off any corrosion/rust which has formed in the die holes.

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It’s Time To Legalize Industrial Hemp In The US

While its technically legal for UK farmers to grow industrial hemp with a licence from the Home Office the process is anything but straightforward. However while it may be difficult for UK farmers to grow hemp it is still illegal for US farmers to do so. Here is an interview with the owner of Dr Bronner’s Magic Soap, a product which is made from the oil of hemp seeds. They currently have to purchase all their hemp seed from Canadian farmers. The largest market for industrial hemp products is the US. So for the crop to still be illegal in these tough economic times is a real insult to US farmers. A typical hypocrisy is how hemp products were sold to support President Obama’s re-election and he him self has constantly avoided the issue of the laws of growing industrial hemp in the US. The owner of Dr Bronner’s Soap, David Bronner takes the issue so seriously he was willing to get arrested for it. He put some industrial hemp plants in the back of a trailer with a cage and parked in front of the White House. After about 3 hours David was arrested but it did help to raise the debate in the press. There are over 30,000 products which can be made from hemp. From our perspective our interest is in hemp fuel pellets. Currently the pellet fuel market uses sawdust wastes. In the future the sawdust wastes available will not be sufficient to support market demand. Therefore we have two options at that point, either mature tress are used for pellet fuel or we use other forms of biomass. Using mature trees for fuel is not a sustainable or responsible approach. Therefore it will come to using other biomass like straws and other agri by-products, fasting growing wood (willow/popular) and grasses. Other biomass materials like straws and grasses can create combustion issues compared to wood. However hemp grows faster than almost any other biomass and produces a fuel pellet that burns like a wood pellet. Therefore we believe that hemp has a key role to play in the future of the pellet fuel market.

Its Very Important To Keep Your Wood Pellets Dry

If you currently own a pellet stove or pellet boiler or are looking to start using pellets there is a very important lesson to learn. Above all else you must keep your wood pellets away from moisture or you will end up with a wet mush that can only be used as mulch on your garden. The video to the right was uploaded by woodpellets.com to demonstrate to their customers what happens if your wood pellets get wet. While this is obviously on the extreme end of the scale, it does accurately illustrate how the wood pellets draw in the moisture. This is why wood pellets make excellent horse bedding. As stated that volume of water is very rarely going to come into contact with your fuel pellets, however even keeping the pellets exposed in an environment with a high humidity can create issues. In these conditions the pellets at first sight will appear the same as when they were delivered. However if you pick up a pellet and put it under horizontal pressure you will notice it breaks much more easily than before, or may even crumble. So as stated in the video, if you get deliveries of pellet bags you need to check the bags for tears and holes and repair them with duck tape. This is the same advice whether you have wood pellets or you are using other biomass fuel pellets such as grass pellets. If you have a pellet silo or some other pellet storage solution you will obviously not have the same issues as pellets in bags, however this does not mean you shouldn’t check the systems every now and again. Moisture absorption as stated while ideal for horse bedding is an issue for developing the pellet fuel market. However in the future the technology will become available for the production of torrefied wood pellets. Torrefaction of wood is very similar to the process of roasting coffee beans. You basically dry off most of the moisture and parts of the wood which you do not want as a fuel. The result is like a man made coal. Torrefied wood does not absorb moisture and can even be stored outside in the rain. Torrefied wood pellets produce no smoke, no smell and very little ash.

Gasification Pellet Stoves Used For Cooking In India

In western cultures pellet fuel is really only used for heating purposes or perhaps for our BBQ’s. However in countries like India they are using pellet fuel for an alternative purpose in the form of cooking stoves. Two significant issues in India are fuel poverty and health issues from breathing in smoke from inefficient fires used for cooking. For instance a typical day for a mother in India is to go and collect wood for the fire. This not only takes up much of her day it can in some cases also add to deforestation. The wood will then be used in most cases on an open fire within the home. She and her children will then breath in this smoke leading to various health issues and many deaths per year. LPG and alike are very expensive in India therefore alternatives need to be made available. Several projects now are developing gasification pellet stoves as you can see in the video above. These stoves using the principles of gasification can burn the pellets very efficiently and dramatically reduce dangerous emissions. The stoves produce more heat and produce heat more quality than an open fire. However the fuel pellets are not actually made from wood they are made from a much more abundant local material, agricultural residues. We have consulted with various projects where they are looking to setup a local pellet mill operation. The farmers will bring in the waste straw etc from their fields. In return they will be given back pellets made from this fuel. In some cases these projects are setup by charities in other cases they are small commercial operations. There are so many advantages to these projects for the individuals and the local economy as a whole. There are also efforts to apply the same model to electric generators. Gasification can be used to produce a gas to run an internal combustion engine to provide towns with a stable source of power which they have never had before. Thanks for reading and any questions on turning agricultural waste into pellets please ask below.

Wood Pellet Horse Bedding Comparison Test

One of the growing markets for pellets is the animal bedding industry, particularly for horse bedding. Traditional horse bedding materials include straw and wood shavings, however they present issues. First is the amount of storage space required for these low density bulky materials that have to be kept under cover so they can operate as effective bedding. Secondly is the dust issue these can present to the horses and their lungs. Finally is the time it takes to clean out the stable. Wood pellet bedding can help to address all these issues. However do all wood pellets perform the same as bedding? I’ve found a video of a comparison test using a set amount of different brands of wood pellets and a set amount of water. The pellets are then left for an hour to see how much water they have absorbed and how dry the bedding feels to the touch. There are different grades of pellet bedding, typically economy and premium. At the premium end there are differences in dust percentage, particle size and colour. The premium horse bedding pellets meet the ENplus standard which is the highest grade for fuel but also proves the lowest dust levels currently possible. Some people have reported differences in the absorbency of the premium bedding and the larger particle size. This may mean the manufacturer is changing the screen on their hammer mills. A large particle size entering the pellet mill can put more load on the press and therefore consume more electricity raising production costs but potentially making a better bedding. Finally a lighter colour is seen in the premium grade as its easier for the customer to spot where in the stable needs cleaning. This will be achieved through using a higher percentage of a softwood such as pine. Using hemp shiv could also be another alternative as this would produce a light coloured pellet. The video above does demonstrate more of a difference in pellet absorbency than many people would think. Thanks for reading and please comment below.

Using Horse Manure/Bedding Waste For Fuel Pellets

There are lots of different materials which can be compressed into fuel pellets. We get a lot of questions about processing waste materials, and while most of them can be used in the pellet mill the end product may not produce in terms of a fuel an ideal product. A definite exception to this rule would be horse manure/bedding waste. Another similar example would be chicken manure/bedding waste. For the owners the disposal costs of this material can be significant therefore making use of the material is an opportunity to turn a cost into a profit. Typically the base bedding material will be straw, hay, shavings or in some cases actually wood pellet bedding. Once the horse manure and bedding is ready for disposal before it can be used for pellet production it needs to be dried. The video above is of an impressive drying system developed by LEI Products that uses their Bio Burner to generate hot water which can then be used to dry the horse manure. Typically the manure will be at a moisture content around 40% and will need to be dried down below 15% ready for the pellet press. This drying system uses two large augers. At the end of the first auger the material enters a hammer mill with a large screen. This is designed to reduce the particles down so that more effective drying can take place. After the second auger and drying has been completed the material can then run through a fine hammer mill screen of 5mm ready for the pellet mill. You may think why not do this to start with as a smaller particle size will dry quicker. The reason is trying to hammer mill wet material through a 5mm screen the only thing that will happen is a blockage of the hammer mill. Now that the horse manure is dry and in small particles it can be compressed into 6mm or 8mm pellets for stoves and boilers. Horse manure pellets produce a high BTU, low ash and low emission fuel and therefore hold a lot of potential as a locally produced fuel. Thanks for reading and please comment below.

Henry Fords Hemp Car in 1941

Henry Ford back in 1941 produced a car with body panels made from hemp, and biodegradable internal parts made from hemp plastic. In the video to the right you can see footage of this video, how a sledge hammer could be used on the panels and not to leave a mark. The panels were said to be lighter than steel and 10 times stronger. Henry Ford probably developed the car as a response to the US governments encouragement to grow hemp in their ‘Hemp For Victory’ campaign. What Henry Ford was not aware of is that after the war had finished the US government would then ban hemp again, destroying any possibility that the hemp car could reach the mass market. This was not the first time Henry Fords efforts to produce ‘green’ cars was halted. The Model T was designed to run on ethanol produced from agricultural materials, in fact at one point 25% of the fuel market for the car was provided for by ethanol. However prohibition become law (a bill which was funded by John D. Rockefeller ‘Standard Oil’). This made fuel ethanol also illegal. Henry Ford continued to produce cars which could run on ethanol for many more years, however eventually gave up. One year after the last Ford was produced which could run on ethanol, prohibition ended. Now the reasons I like to share this information is to demonstrate how the uses of Hemp have been proven many times, yet today we still cannot fully utilize this crop. Miscanthus, Switchgrass and other biomass energy crops all produce burnable fuel pellets, but they all fall short of hemp on a sustainability basis and a fuel quality basis. In our small scale pellet plants we can process whole hemp or the shiv. Shiv is the woody core of the plant which is left over after the fibers have been removed for other products. The material is reduced in size through a hammer mill and then these particles are metered into the pellet press. Under high heat and pressure in the pellet mill a hemp pellet is formed.