Wood pellets are used as fuel, as material for animal bedding, and for certain kinds of barbecues and grills. Wood pellets are used in cooking stoves and produce more heat, getting the temperatures to rise more quickly. Most pellets are made in bulk quantities by industrial pellet mills, but homeowners and small businesses can also turn organic materials into wood pellets. Make wood pellets by reducing raw materials into small pieces and compressing them into dense pellets.
1. Gather the wood to be used and reduce the size of the wood pieces. Chip or shred the raw materials until the pieces are no larger than 1 inch (2.5 cm). Use a hammer mill to reduce the size of the wood even further. Get the pieces as small as possible without turning it into sawdust.
2. Dry the material using heat. Content moisture should be 10 to 20 percent. Leave the wood in the sun to dry naturally, or place the wood pieces in an industrial slow heating oven until it is dried to the desired moisture level.
3. Feed the wood material through a batch mixer. Pouring it into the mixer will ensure all of the wood pieces become uniform and consistent in density, moisture and size. Make sure there is a rolling drum or an agitator working with the batch mixer.
4. Produce the pellets using a pellet mill or, for smaller batches, a pellet press that includes a die and roller. The die is a metal piece with holes drilled through it. The roller goes across the die and presses the wood through the holes into pieces the size of finished pellets. Pellet presses are flat die or round die. Either types can be used to make wood pellets that are consistent in density and moisture level.
5. Sieve the pellets that did not form properly. Some pieces will fall apart or break during the pressing process. Separate the improperly formed pieces by shaking or sifting them through a screen.
6. Cool the pellets thoroughly. When the pellets come out of the pellet press, they will be hot and moist. Spread them out and allow them to cool and dry naturally.
7. Bag and store the pellets. Put the pellets in plastic bags that are not too big that they cannot be transported, and seal the bags. The pellets will need to be stored in a dry place where they will not become moist.