Energy Density Sustainable Production Clean Combustion

Pellets.Africa has been created by the World Bioenergy Association (WBA). Africa is the continent with the highest share of bioenergy in its energy balance. Over 50 % of all energy used in Africa is bioenergy. However, the net loss of forest area in Africa has accelerated, according to the most resent FAO report In the period between 2010– 2020 the net loss of forest area in Africa has been accelerating and was on average 3,9 Million hectares per year. The need for large amounts of firewood and charcoal is playing an important role in this development which is unsustainable. Using pellets from abundant unused agricultural residues could become a key to protection of forests and sustainable bio energy use that strengthens local economies.

The benefits of Pellets are

Energy density

The pelletization process leads to a product, with a high energy density. This means that approximately 5 times more energy can be stored in the same volume compared to untreated biomass. A bag of pellets has approximately the same energy content as a similar sized bag of charcoal but twice the weight.

Sustainable production

While charcoal production reduces the energy content of biomass substantially – up to 80 % of the energy content is lost during the transformation of wood to charcoal – pelletizing does not reduce the energy content and needs only comparatively small amounts of energy for processing, drying and compressing the biomass. Also, in contrast to charcoal production, it causes no local air pollution.

Clean Combustion

Due to the small particle size, pellet combustion using the right equipment does not create any smoke. A pellet cookstove can burn almost as clean and stable as an LPG stove but at much lower costs.


Description of Pellet Produce Procedure

Pellet production is realized in several steps, that will differ depending on the raw material that is pelletized. The easiest case is, if the raw material is both dry and of small particle size (e.g. rice husks). In that case the material can run directly through the pellet mill, then goes to a cooler, into a storage bin and finally to the packaging. In case the raw material is humid and of varying size it needs to go through a hammermill to reduce particle size and through a dryer. For wood pellets often a small amount of starch or corn flour is added to the sawdust (<1%) which increases production and improves pellet quality.

Raw Materials

The most frequently used raw material for pellet production is sawdust and other residues from wood processing. However most agricultural residues such as husks, straw, peanutshells, corncobs etc. can also be pelletized. Such pellets can be used in cookstoves. For international trade usually wood pellets are required.

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