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Making Your Own Pellets for a Pellet Burning Stove

[ 14 ] January 15, 2009 |
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Making your own pellets with the Yankee Pellet MillOne of the arguments I always had with myself against buying a pellet burning stove over a wood burning one is that I didn’t want to be dependent on someone else to supply my fuel. To me, that just kind of defeated the purposes in some ways.

While researching this issue I came across several pellet-making devices, such as the one shown on the left by Yankee Pellet Mill, which allow you to make your own pellets for a pellet burning stove.

But I still have a few questions…

Has anyone had any experience with these?
How difficult is the process?
How much time does it take to say – chopping up cords of wood with a chain saw?
What are the easiest materials to make efficient burning pellets out of?

Thanks readers, for any tips and advice you can give on this matter. I’m sure I’m not the only one with this question and hope that the community can help answer it for those of us who don’t have experience with pellet burning stoves.

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Category: Renewable Energy, Sustainable Living

About Everett: Everett writes about voluntary simplicity. This blog catalogs his search for "the good life" as he tries to strike a balance between work and play; freedom and responsibility; simplicity and comfort. View author profile.

Comments (14)

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  1. Rogier noort says:

    We plan on living in Belgium, in the Ardenne where wood is plentyful. We came across a Sunmachine as a poosible energysource. So pellets are back on the menu. Your question is also interesting for us. I haven’t found or used one, so no experience there. But, back to the Ardenne, a lot of “left over” wood is available. From the logging, all the branches and foliage. Pellets can be made from that, at least I think. I kinda hope for more responses, it’s an interesting question.

  2. i think that nobody really has feedback or any experince with home size pellet mills because of the inflated cost of these machines. most small home models run with an electric motor which genarally cost about 500.00 dollars and they are mounted to a transfer gear case topped with a die and roller system that i can imagine would only cost about 800.00 to make at a total mfg cost of 1300.00 however companies charge well over 2000.00 for these machines. we would like to make our own fuel but how much will we spend on a machine we know we will be over charged for? nobody even knows if they work efficiantly!!!

  3. Chris says:

    Yes, I have long been hesitant to set up a wood pellet stove due to the issues of obtaining reliable, cheap pellets. When the housing crunch hit, there was a lot less leftover sawdust and many said this affected the pellet world (but I wouldn’t know since I haven’t bought one).

    I would like to know the suitability of ANY thing going into this. Why not use old newspapers to create pellets… it is wood after all.

    Also, what makes a “low ash” wood pellet? I hear the ash is unbearable unless you buy the expensive (hardwood?) pellets. Wish there was more info on this since it makes for a great way to take care of yourself if you have some land. I’d like to see it so automated as to serve as your central heating system and clean its own ash.

    Maybe some day.

  4. expensive or cheap i havent noticed a difference for instance pellets i purchased at wallmart had a very low ash remaining after buning a hopper full than the more expensive premium brand they also burned nice and hot. they really could vary from batch to batch.

  5. Les Puglia says:

    We run this mill and make pellets with it,We also will demo our mill and show you how.
    it does take time and the point is to make pellets out of a range of material as we do not think wood is the only answer as you can pellet hay,grass,leaves,wood,corn,soy bean,willow,the list goes on and on.

  6. wayne says:

    Check out makeyourownpellets.com , there is a forum where some of us who are making pellets are helping others become pellet makers. I myself have a pellet mill (home size) approximately $4500 (US) But I spent $3000 heating my home last winter (fuelOil) so the cost is not that bad considering. I am making pellets out of hay, newspapers , sawdust and cardboard. The oil industry can go to you know where as far as I am concerned. Sames goes for worrying about the cost increases of pellets made by corporations!

  7. Ron Davies says:

    I have some feedback on home grade pellet machines for you
    I found it worth my time and Les and his son Shawn at Yankee Pellet Mill worked great with me they not only sold me a pellet mill at a affordable price they also helped me to actually make pellets. I would suggest them to anyone.

  8. Brad says:

    Jeremy — so total parts cost $1300 and the manufacturer is “robbing” you by charging $2000? You’re high on glue. That $700 is called . . . wait for it . . . “profit”. It’s how the company can afford to pay the people to assemble the product, stock the product and ship you the product. All while making a living themselves. I suggest you try building one yourself and see if you can come in under their price, with a warranty. Keep track of your time and investment. I guarantee you’ll spend more…

  9. Bill Stincs says:

    I am burning wood pellets at this time and have found them very efficient for heating my home. I have a Harmon boiler and I am tied into my existing hot water system. My boiler burns very clean and leaves very little ash. I empty my ash pan after every ton of pellets that I burn or each month. There just is not alot of waste. My home is very warm with the new system and I would recomend this heat scource to almost everyone.A pellet burner like a wood burner is more work than gas or oil and it must be kept clean to operate at it’s peak.
    As far as making your own pellets. Do your homework! The smaller mills do not produce the pressures of the lafge units and you will find that each batch will be different. You will need to add binders to some formulas to hold the product togther.
    I wish every home use a renewable heat scource like wood and bio mass. Then we could greatly reduce our need for any oil.

  10. Mike Davis says:

    I also am Interested in making one myself or buying maybe a used one that someone doesn’t want any more.

    When I first bought my $300.00 pellet stove the pellets cost me around $195 a bag.

    Now they are almost and sometimes over $5.00 bucks a bag. No matter what we find to heat with there is going to be someone that is going to raise the price.

    If you have a high demand the price is sure to go up. I just spent $210.00 for a ton just the other day. Like I said it was alot cheaper a few months ago so I’m looking into finding a way to do this cheaper.

    I have just started looking into finding another way to make pellets or finding a machine. I’m now even sure what makes the dang pellets. Has to be some kind of alot of pressure to do it I’m sure.

    I’ll keep looking.

    Thanks Guys.

    Mike

  11. DB says:

    I have been using one of the small mills from pellet pros for a year and a half. If you are looking to rely totally on self made pellets I would not reccomend it. However I do like using it to supplement either Corn or wood pellets. I have 2 corn/pellet stoves and have had pretty good success making pellets from grass clippings and shredded leaves. Sawdust also works but is much more challenging and slow. All pellets are much slower than the advertised rate from the manufactures. It does take some experimentation to get the hang of it with the correct moisture content/product mixtures. The home made pellets do not burn quite as well as commercial ones and do leave considerably more ash but I have found that mixing homemade pellets with either corn or commercial pellets works very well. Grass and leaf pellets also have some oder that you can smell in the house while sitting in the hopper. They also have an oder when burned but that is more of an issue outside or when opening the stove for cleaning.

    In summary I enjoy using it as a supplement but would not reccomend trying to rely soley on one of these home mills.

  12. I want to make pellets out of cardboard. What can I add to the mix to make them burn hotter than wood pellets?

  13. Nick Gear says:

    Brad – you so up with market prices !
    Here is one for you – how come PTO machine cost only $300 less then gas powered pellet press.
    Sure they keep prices up there is no competition only Chinese companies do pellet presses for home

  14. Michael M. says:

    I would very much like to have a pellet stove instead of a wood stove because the pellet stove feeds itself as long as it has pellets in the hopper. My problem is, how do I convert wood on my land to sawdust? Do I have to buy a wood chipper and a pellet mill?

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