UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Variability in Physical Properties of Logging and Sawmill Residues for Making Wood Pellets Lee, Jun Sian; Rezaei, Hamid; Gholami Banadkoki, Omid; Yazdan Panah, Fahimeh; Sokhansanj, Shahab


Wood pellets are a versatile ingredient to produce bioenergy and bioproducts. Wood pellet manufacturing in Canada started as a way of using the excess sawdust from sawmilling operations. With the recent dwindling availability of sawdust and the growth in demand for wood pellets, the industry uses more non-sawdust woody biomass as feedstock. In this study, woody biomass materials received from nine wood pellet plants in British Columbia (BC) and Alberta were analyzed for their properties, especially those used for fractionating feedstock to make pellets. Half of the feedstock received at the plants was non-sawdust. Moisture contents varied from 10 to 60% wet basis, with the hog having an average of 50%. Ash contents ranged from 0.3 to 4% dry basis and were highest in the hog fraction. Bulk density varied from 50 to 450 kg/m³, with shavings having the lowest bulk density. Particle density ranged from 359 kg/m³ for infeed mix to 513 kg/m³ for sawdust. In total, 25% of particles received were larger than 25 mm. The extraneous materials (sand, dirt) in the infeed materials ranged from 0.03% to 1.2%, except for one hog sample (8.2%). Plant operators use mechanical fractionation and blending to meet the required ash content. In conclusion, further instrumental techniques to aid in fractionation should be developed.

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