Making Wood Pellets at Home

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Pellet-burning stoves burn more efficiently than wood-burning stoves and can save you a lot of money on heating bills. Pellet stoves resemble wood-burning stoves except they must use pellet fuel. You can buy pellet fuel at feed stores and home improvement centers. However, you can make your own pellet fuel more cheaply from household waste paper. Using household waste as fuel saves money and helps keep the waste from going to a landfill.

Things You'll Need

  • Newspapers, junk mail, cardboard and other waste paper
  • Hammer mill
  • Plastic buckets
  • Pellet mill
  • Save up old newspapers, junk mail, pizza and other food boxes, cardboard packing boxes and other waste paper such as outdated household documents. Remove staples, paper clips, tape and other foreign material from the paper. Tear everything into pieces about the width of your palm so you can easily feed them into the hopper of a hammer mill.

  • Position a plastic bucket under the exit chute of a hammer mill. Turn on the mill and start feeding the paper and cardboard pieces into the hopper. The mill will shred the paper and eject it out of the chute into the bucket. Shred all the waste paper and cardboard in this manner. Use more than one bucket if necessary.

  • Position another empty plastic bucket under the exit chute of a pellet mill. Start the pellet mill and wait for the metal die inside to heat up. Feed the shredded waste paper by handfuls into the hopper of the pellet mill. The mill will compress the paper into pellets and eject them out of the exit chute.

  • Process all the shredded paper into pellets. The pellets will be very warm when they come out of the mill so let them cool. They are now ready to be burned in a pellet stove. If you do not use them right away, seal them in a bag and store them in a dry place.

Tips & Warnings

  • Shredding household documents in a hammer mill destroys the information on the documents and is a good way to prevent identity theft.
  • Make sure the shredded paper is dry enough to make good pellets. Pellets should come out of the mill hard and shiny. If they are mushy, let the shredded paper dry before making pellets.
  • You can use any clean, organic biomass to make pellets, such as lawn clippings, sawdust and crop waste.
  • The act of shredding waste paper generates dust. Make sure to wear safety glasses and a mask to prevent the dust from getting in your eyes and lungs.
  • Hammer and pellet mills run on gas or diesel and should be used out of doors. This will also prevent dust from building up in an enclosed space and developing into a potential explosion hazard.

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References

  • Photo Credit pellets image by Rupert Roth from Fotolia.com
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