About Pellets

Biomass is becoming increasingly important as concerns grow about climate change and the need to replace carbon dioxide-producing fossil fuels – oil, coal and gas – with carbon-neutral renewable sources of energy. The era of cheap oil or gas is now over, and no-one is expecting prices to come down. Larger energy users may also have the added cost of Climate Change Levy, and meeting any carbon caps imposed under the EU Emissions trading Scheme.

Key biomass fuels...

Biomass is organic matter and there is a wide range of potential biomass fuels, many of which are wastes or residues, but some biomass fuels are grown especially for use in biomass plant. There are five main groups of biomass fuels: virgin wood, energy crops, agricultural residues, food waste and industrial waste...

Pellets traded by PZL are produced primarily from wood (sawdust etc) and also Energy Crops grown specifically for the purpose. Energy crops include woody energy crops like short rotation forestry, Willow, Eucalyptus, Poplar, Miscanthus, Reed Canary Grass, Hemp, and also sugar crops (sugar beet), starch crops (wheat, barley, maize/corn), oil crops (rape, linseed, sunflower)

Pellets offer a great new way of generating heat and power — from domestic use through to power stations.

Pellets are...


  • Clean, green, and very economical...
  • Smokeless, and leave only a light, clean ash
  • Renewable – so no Climate Change Levy, and an instant contribution to emissions reductions targets.
  • Cheap. Pellets can be supplied in most locations at prices that easily compete with, or beat, fossil fuels.
  • Proven – many parts of Europe, especially Scandinavia, and have been using pellets as an energy source for years
  • Clean and dry, and almost dust free as well as easy to store and handle


How are Pellets made?

Pellet manufacturers endeavour to produce pellets to the same standard to ensure pellet machinery and appliances burn and heat consistently. Here are some of the processes:

Chippers & Hammer Mills

Some pellet plants start their process by putting large pieces of wood through a chipping machine for processing. These are only necessary for mills that accept this non-uniform feed stock. While they all don't have chippers most have a hammer mill at the beginning of their milling process which takes the raw material and breaks it down into a consistent size, making drying and pressing through the pellet die quick and consistent.

The Pellet Mill

After drying, the raw material (e.g. Sawdust) is pressed through a die at high pressure. This process heats up the material and releases natural lignin that bind the sawdust together in pellet form.

Cooling and Storage

Pellets leave the mill between 200 and 250 degrees and soft. A cooling tower is used to bring the temperature down and harden the pellets. After cooling, they are stored ready for bagging or bulk distribution.

Bulk or Bagged

Pellets are shipped in bags or bulk and which is chosen will depend on a range of factors including; quantity required, storage available, burning equipment used at customer, domestic or industrial use, availability and local demand.

What standard are pellets made to?

Across Europe there are two widely used Standards—ONORM (Austrian) and DIN (German), but the evolving European standard (CEN/TS 14961) is increasingly referred to. Standards create a base to measure key properties of pelleted fuel including dry matter, density, durability, dust (fines) ash, chlorine, sulphur, Nitorgen and so on.

Where can I find further sources of useful information?

Web site Name Web site address
European Pellet Centre http://www.pelletcentre.info
Pellet@tlas http://www.pelletcentre.info/cms/site.aspx?p=9107
Log Pile http://www.nef.org.uk/logpile/pellets/introduction.htm
Carbon Trust http://www.carbontrust.co.uk/biomass
- Biomass Heating for Business Click for PDF document by Carbon Trust
NNFCC http://www.nnfcc.co.uk
BioMass Energy Centre http://www.biomassenergycentre.org.uk


Pellet Zone trade in a range of biomass Pellets including those made from sawdust and wood waste, and also from specifically grown energy crops such as Miscanthus (shown below).