Turn wood waste into good waste

Your sawmill is churning out heaps of waste. Unless you’re turning your mill residues into bioenergy.

Wood processing industries in Europe and the United States generate a combined 150 million tons of residues every year. But its dusty characteristics make this material difficult to handle and it is often just disposed of as waste.

Sawdust, however, is anything but waste. With the right technology, it can be reprocessed into household-grade wood pellets and address demands for new bioenergy solutions.


But wood pellets are not simply compacted sawdust

In Europe, where an energy scare looms, consumers are stocking wood pellets for home heating systems. Unsurprisingly though, domestic-use pellets must meet strict certification requirements, explains Timo Müller, Marketing Manager at Salmatec.

“Unlike other pellet products, sizing is crucial here,” Timo tells us. “Wood pellets must adhere to a standard between 3.15 mm and 40.0 mm.” Pelletizers engineered for this type of pellets have special knifing technology that cuts pieces with millimetric precision.

Moisture control presents another critical challenge. The ideal water content in wood pellets hovers between 7%-9%. Moisture holds the milled dust particles together, but the pellets must be dry enough to burn efficiently and prevent mold growth. On the other hand, insufficient moisture makes them flaky.

The pre-pelletizing drying stage typically lowers water content to around 10% before a small amount of water is added again during the conditioning process. This moisture creates a homogeneous input material. But a conditioner does more than that, clarifies Timo: “It distributes particles evenly to enable a smooth production process.”

Giving wood waste a new lease of life

Producing wood pellets for domestic use is an intricate process. But it turns sawmill residues into a circular byproduct with a new purpose.

Equally important, as households are warming up to wood pellet stoves, it keeps the winter chills at bay.

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