Understanding the difference between biomass fuel wood chip and wood pellets

Understanding the difference between biomass fuel wood chip and wood pellets

By on Sep 9, 2021 in Biomass fuel, Blog |

If you have decided to start using biomass fuel as your main heating source, you may not know that there is both wood chip and wood pellets available for the boilers.

Here at PH Winterton, we specialise in wood pellets, sourced from our sawmill waste collection service. For our latest post, we will look at the differences between the two types of biomass fuel.

Wood Chip Biomass Fuel Explained

Wood chips are small pieces of wood that have been cut to between 5mm and 50mm and are used instead of larger twigs and dust-like particles
If large twigs are included they can block the wood chip boiler feed system and if they are too small (as in dust-like particles) they can upset the combustion of the boiler. The same situation can occur from high bark content, meaning care is needed in the quality of the wood chip, which is dictated by the raw material, chipper type and sharpness of blade plus handling.
In order to produce wood chip fuel, trees are coppiced and the offcuts are chipped and then dried until the chip moisture meets required standards

Wood Pellet Fuel Explained

Wood pellets are made up of sawdust or fine shavings of wood extruded under pressure so that the wood resin binds the material into cylindrical shapes between 6mm and 10mm in diameter and 10mm and 30mm long
No artificial chemicals are added to wood pellets but starch or cornflour is sometimes used to improve stability. This results in a high-density fuel with low moisture contents, which is less bulky to transport and store

Choosing between these fuel types is often made during the planning of your boiler system design. The transport and storage needed will often dictate which fuel type you decide on.

What are the benefits of biomass wood fuels?

Can be compacted into deliverable packets which can be easily delivered and stored at sites
Less variation in moisture content and physical form
Flow characteristics make them easier to deliver

Are there any other considerations?

Biomass boilers can be set up for both wood pellet and wood chip fuels, which allows for future flexibility in supply. In order to change fuel types, the boiler needs to be re-commissioned and its settings changed.

Wood pellets can normally be delivered in bulk by a pressurised trailer, pumping the fuel through a pipe, which means the delivery vehicle can be up to 5 metres distance from the store, which is another reason to choose a pellet fuel system.

Get in touch for more information

If you have any questions about PH Winterton’s range of biomass fuel wood pellets, please do not hesitate to contact us now.