Why Pelletize

Why Pelletize?

Pellet.africa has been created by the World Bioenergy Association (WBA). Africa is a continent with the highest share of bioenergy in its energy balance. Over 50 %  of all energy used in Africa is bioenergy.

Pellets made from agricultural residues such as rice husks, bagasse or residues from wood processing could play a key role in replacing unsustainable bioenergy use in Africa. This is why the World Bioenergy Association has developed this website. It should contribute to a transition towards sustainable bioenergy use in Africa by facilitating access to information regarding pellet production and use.

Pellets are a promising sustainable solution for energy supply based on carbon neutral local biomass resources in many parts of the world. According to the Pellet Statistics of Bioenergy Europe global pellet production has increased from 2 Million tons in the year 2000 to 50 Million tons in 2019. Today pellets are used around the globe as fuel delivering energy for many different purposes.

Why Choose Pellets.Africa


Biomass such as residues from agricultural production, residues from the processing of crops or residues from timber production is widely available in Africa. However, these residues are difficult to use as a fuel. There are two main reasons for this:

Untreated biomass usually has a very low density. It needs a lot of space to be stored and can hardly be transported over long distances because of its bulky nature.

Untreated biomass shows large variation of properties. Especially the humidity can vary a lot depending on the conditions of collecting the biomass. This makes it very difficult to use. Biomass with high humidity has very poor properties as a fuel: it produces a lot of air pollution and has a low heating value.

Calorific value
The process of pelletizing biomass overcomes both issues: the pelleting process must include a careful control of the humidity of used biomass. Too humid material needs to be dried before pelletizing as pellets otherwise fall apart. Consequently, pellets have a very low humidity and high net calorific value of 4-5 kWh/kg.
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. However, it has considerably more weight.
Flexible feedstocks
Pellets can be produced from many types of biomass such as sawdust, rice husks, straw, peanut shells, corn cobs or other residues of agriculture production or residues from the processing of agricultural products. Pellets from agricultural residues can be used in gasifying cook stoves providing an ideal local source of energy for many places in Africa that have a lack of wood supply. It should be noted, however that pellets from agricultural raw materials have significantly higher ash content than pellets from wood residues and cannot be used by the same boilers or power plants as pellets from woody biomass which makes them less suitable for export to Europe where mostly wood pellets are used.
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.

Pellet production in Africa

Pellet production and use has also increased significantly in Afrika.

Recently interest in pellet production and use has also increased significantly in Afrika. However, developing and operating pellets plants and marketing pellets is more demanding than it may seem. The purpose of this Website is to provide the basic know-how that it is needed to develop pellet production as well as pellet use in Africa. It should also become a place for interaction and sharing of experiences between all actors, who are interested in the topic of pellet production and pellet use in Africa.

Consumption of wood pellets worldwide in 2018, by select region

(in million metric tons)

European Union
other Asia
North America
other Europe
South America
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