Pellets are categorized by their heating value, moisture and ash content, and dimensions. They can be used as fuels for power generation, commercial or residential heating, and cooking
There are numerous benefits achieved by utilizing pellet fuel, including economic and environmental. Pellet fuel is utilized in varied settings and applications, such as home heating appliances and large-scale boilers in commercial operations.
There are an estimated 1,000,000 residences/businesses in the US currently heating with pellets.
A typical homeowner uses 3 tons of pellets per heating season at a cost of about $825. At an average retail price of $250/ton, pellets offer a fuel cost per million BTU of $19.05. To offer a fuel cost of $19.05 per million BTU, # 2 fuel oil and propane would have to be priced at $2.05/gal and $1.36/gal, respectively! (Fuel Value Calculator, USFS, 2008)
One ton of wood pellets has the energy equivalency of 2.8 barrels of #2 fuel oil. (Energy Information Administration)
Direct thermal conversion of 3 million tons of wood pellets displaces the equivalent of almost 8.5 million barrels of #2 fuel oil. That is 356 million gallons! (Energy Information Administration)
Direct thermal conversion of pellets has an efficiency level of approximately 80%.
Pellet stoves have extremely low particulate emissions due to their high burn efficiency and the density of the fuel. (Environmental Protection Agency)
Every ton of pellets used vs. oil reduces CO2 emissions by about 1.5 tons. Total emissions offset this year will be nearly 4.5 million tons of CO2.
Pellet distribution costs less than the cost of distributing wood chips.
Wood pellets have a fossil energy ratio (net energy output/fossil energy used) of 12:1. (Net Energy Value Study, University of Wisconsin Green Bay)
Pellet manufacturing directly employs approximately 2,300 people in the U.S. and supports thousands of industry-related jobs in fields such as transportation and logging. (North America’s Wood Pellet Sector, Spelter & Toth, 2009)