How are pellets made ?
Wood pellets are a high-quality form of fuel. They are small, cylindrical pellets made from recycled wood waste, such as wood shavings and sawdust. They are shredded, hammer milled and then compressed under high pressure and wood’s natural glue (lignin) acts as a binding agent to hold the pellets together.
Pellets are extremely dense and are produced with a low moisture content (below 10%) that allows them to be burned with a very high combustion efficiency. One tonne of pellets is equivalent to about 4-5 tonnes of firewood making it easy to handle and store.
Benefits of Wood Pellets
- Cost effective
- Much lower emissions compared to firewood, minimal to no smoke
- No dust in the house
- Good for the environment as they’re made from recycled biomass
- CO2 Neutral
- Convenient 15Kg bags that are easy to carry and store
- No chopping firewood, no splinters, spiders or snakes
- No stoking
- Low ash
- An asthma-friendly alternative to wood heating
How much fuel will I use
We get asked this question all the time and it is hard to answer because everyone’s needs are different. Pellet Fires Tasmania supplies pellet fuel to its customer base and records purchase data, we know that the average consumption over a 12 month period is just less than 1 tonne (2016 it was 922kgs per customer). We also know that some customers only purchased a very small amount and others much more.
The following graph is an analysis of all Pellet Club account customers. It shows that 66% of all customers purchased less than 1 ton, 24% between 1 and 2 tons, 9% between 2 and 3 tons and 1% 3 to 4 tons. Typically customers buying more than 2 tons are using pellet heating as a Central Heating system either with multiple heaters or Hydronic pellet boilers.
Pellet usage patterns have not changed over the years for those who use a pellet heater as their only heat source however we have seen an overall reduction in pellet fuel because many of our customers use a pellet heater to complement a heat pump.
Occasional user = 1/2 tonne per year
May have other heating types. May only operate a pellet heater for a limited number of hours per day as required.
Average user = 1 tonne per year
Pellet heater is the main source of heat. Operates the heater as required. Turns off overnight.
High user = 1 to 2 tonnes per year
Pellet heater is heating more than just the living area and or is operated most of the day and night.
Hydronic user = 2 to 3 tonnes per year
Typically hydronic systems are used for central heating of the whole home. Usually operated 24 hrs a day during winter and heating a large house
Pellet fuel supply in Tasmania Today
Pellet fuel is readily available in Tasmania from our depots in Hobart, Launceston and Ulverstone and other retail outlets including M10 stores. We source several brands from different suppliers (Pellet Mills) to ensure that there is enough supply to meet demand. Pellet Fires Tasmania held a small investment in Island Bio-Energy Pty Ltd which was the first 100% hardwood pellet manufacturer in Tasmania. Island Bio-Energy could not supply the whole Tasmanian market on its own so new manufactures have emerged in the local pellet fuel market including Oak Industries, Southwood Pellets and EcoPellets. We also have back up supplies from Geelong and New Zealand. Local, interstate and oversees supply options provides Tasmanian’s with security of fuel supply into the future.
Three Tasmanian Hardwood Pellet Mills
The pellet mills in Tasmania (Southwood – Neville Smith Forest Products in Launceston and OAK Industries in Hobart) both produce the Hardwood pellet that is the preferred fuel option in Tasmania due to its low ash content. Pellet Mill expansion in September 2019 increased the capacity of these two mills which exceeds demand making pellet fuel a reliable and viable alternative to other energy sources particularly gas and firewood.
EcoPellets is the latest Tasmanian owned producer of hardwood and softwood pellets made from FSC Certified plantation timber. Based in Bell bay, EcoPellets started pellet production in March 2020 bringing total production to well above Tasmania’s current needs and positioned for export markets.
During 2014 and 2015 we had to ration fuel during peak periods to avoid shortages, this situation has been addressed and the industry is moving forward without threat of pellet fuel shortages again. Pellet brand is subject to availability and managed to ensure there is always supply of fuel.
Bulk Pellet Delivery
Single pallet delivery is only available in Hobart at this stage. $50 handling fee plus $1 per kilometer from the depot. Pick up from the depot is no charge.