Pellet Tips

How to Make Wood Pellets? An Easy Guide for DIY Enthusiasts

Written by



When it comes to sustainable and renewable energy sources, wood pellets have gained significant popularity. As an expert in the field, I am often asked about the process of making wood pellets. In this article, I will guide you through the step-by-step process of how to make wood pellets, from the materials needed to the final product.

By the end, you will have a comprehensive understanding of how to produce your own wood pellets for various applications.

What are wood pellets?

What are wood pellets?

Wood pellets are a type of biomass fuel that is made from compressed wood particles. They are typically cylindrical in shape and have a high energy density, making them an efficient and eco-friendly alternative to traditional fossil fuels.

Wood pellets are commonly used for heating purposes in residential and commercial settings, as well as in industrial processes.

Definition of wood pellets

Wood pellets are made by compressing wood particles, such as wood chips or sawdust, using a pellet mill. The compression process removes moisture from the wood and binds the particles together, resulting in dense and uniform pellets.

Benefits of using wood pellets

There are several benefits to using wood pellets as a source of fuel. Firstly, wood pellets are a renewable energy source, as they are made from sustainably harvested wood. This makes them a more environmentally friendly option compared to fossil fuels.

Additionally, wood pellets have a high energy density, meaning they produce a significant amount of heat per unit of weight. This makes them highly efficient and cost-effective for heating purposes.

Wood pellets also produce fewer emissions compared to traditional fuels, contributing to improved air quality.

Materials needed for making wood pellets

Materials needed for making wood pellets

Before diving into the process of making wood pellets, it is important to gather the necessary materials. Here are the key components you will need:

Wood chips or sawdust

The primary ingredient for making wood pellets is wood chips or sawdust. These can be obtained from various sources, such as lumber mills, woodworking shops, or even by processing your own wood.

It is important to ensure that the wood is dry and free from contaminants, as this can affect the quality of the pellets.


A binder is required to hold the wood particles together during the pelletizing process. Common binders include vegetable oils, starches, and lignin. The choice of binder depends on the specific application and availability.


Water is used to moisten the wood particles and activate the binder. It is important to add the right amount of water to achieve the desired consistency for pellet formation.

Pellet mill

A pellet mill is the key equipment used to compress the wood particles into pellets. It consists of a die and rollers that apply pressure to the wood particles, forcing them through the die to form pellets of the desired size and shape.

Preparing the wood chips or sawdust

Preparing the wood chips or sawdust

Before pelletizing the wood particles, it is necessary to prepare them properly. This involves two main steps: drying and grinding.

Drying the wood chips or sawdust

To ensure optimal pellet quality, the wood chips or sawdust must be dried to a moisture content of around 10-15%. This can be achieved by spreading the wood particles in a thin layer and allowing them to air dry or by using a specialized drying machine.

Grinding the wood chips or sawdust

After drying, the wood chips or sawdust should be ground into smaller particles. This increases the surface area and improves the binding properties of the wood, resulting in better pellet formation. A hammer mill or a wood chipper can be used for this purpose.

Mixing the wood chips or sawdust with the binder

Mixing the wood chips or sawdust with the binder

Once the wood particles are prepared, they need to be mixed with the binder to facilitate pellet formation.

Choosing the right binder

The choice of binder depends on factors such as the intended use of the pellets and the availability of materials.

  • Vegetable oils, such as soybean oil or canola oil, are commonly used as binders due to their natural properties.
  • Starches, such as cornstarch or wheat starch, can also be used.
  • Another option is lignin, a natural polymer found in wood that can be extracted and used as a binder.

Adding water to the mixture

To activate the binder, water is added to the mixture of wood particles and binder. The amount of water required depends on the moisture content of the wood particles and the desired consistency of the mixture.

It is important to add water gradually and mix thoroughly to achieve a homogeneous mixture.

Pelletizing the mixture

Once the wood particles are mixed with the binder, it is time to pelletize the mixture using a pellet mill.

Using a pellet mill

The pellet mill consists of a die and rollers that apply pressure to the mixture, forcing it through the die to form pellets. The die has small holes of the desired pellet size, and the rollers compress the mixture as it passes through the die.

The pressure and temperature generated during this process activate the binder, resulting in the formation of solid pellets.

Adjusting the pellet mill settings

To achieve the desired pellet quality, it may be necessary to adjust the settings of the pellet mill. Factors such as the compression ratio, die thickness, and roller speed can affect the density and durability of the pellets.

It is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and make adjustments accordingly.

Drying and cooling the wood pellets

Drying and cooling the wood pellets

After pelletizing, the wood pellets need to be dried and cooled to remove excess moisture and ensure their stability.

Removing excess moisture

The freshly formed wood pellets contain a certain amount of moisture, which needs to be reduced to improve their combustion properties and prevent spoilage. This can be done by placing the pellets in a drying chamber or using a specialized pellet dryer.

The drying process typically involves circulating hot air around the pellets until they reach the desired moisture content, usually around 6-8%.

Cooling the pellets

Once the pellets are dried, they need to be cooled to room temperature before storage. This can be achieved by allowing the pellets to cool naturally or by using a pellet cooler, which blows cool air over the pellets to accelerate the cooling process.

Storing and using the wood pellets

Proper storage and usage of wood pellets are crucial to maintain their quality and maximize their efficiency.

Proper storage conditions

Wood pellets should be stored in a dry and well-ventilated area to prevent moisture absorption and mold growth. It is important to keep the pellets away from direct sunlight and sources of heat, as this can cause degradation. Storing the pellets in sealed bags or containers can help maintain their quality over time.

Using the wood pellets as fuel

Wood pellets can be used as a fuel source in various applications, such as residential and commercial heating systems, industrial boilers, and pellet stoves.

They can be burned directly in pellet stoves or used in automated heating systems that feed the pellets into a combustion chamber. The high energy density of wood pellets ensures efficient and clean combustion, resulting in minimal emissions.



In conclusion, making wood pellets is a straightforward process that involves preparing the wood particles, mixing them with a binder, pelletizing the mixture, and drying and cooling the pellets.

By following the steps outlined in this article, you can produce your own high-quality wood pellets for various heating and energy applications. Remember to choose the right materials, adjust the pellet mill settings, and store the pellets properly to ensure optimal performance and longevity.

Start making your own wood pellets today and contribute to a more sustainable future.


  • Can you make your own wood pellets?

    Most pellets are made in bulk by industrial pellet mills, but homeowners and small businesses can also turn organic materials into wood pellets. You can make your own pellets at home by breaking raw wood matter into small pieces and pressing the wood into dense pellets.

  • What is needed to make wood pellets?

    Some experts suggest making pellets by adding sawdust, grass clippings, straw, nutshells and husks, paper/cardboard and other materials to the wood. To obtain quality homemade pellets, however, we advise using only wood and, at most, a small percentage of sawdust.

  • How do you make wood pellets from sawdust?

    To manufacture wood pellets from sawdust, you should well-prepare the sawdust, which requires a consistent size of 3-5mm and a moisture level of 10-15%. A conveyor system then feeds the sawdust into a sawdust pellet machine.

  • What are the raw materials for wood pellets?

    The common pellets are made from woody biomass, like sawdust, wood chips or forest residues, but there are a variety of raw materials which can be pelletized. Some examples are paper products, waste biomass, corn, cotton seed, hemp, miscanthus, reed canary grass, straw, cereal spillage, low grade hay etc.

Originally posted 2023-11-05 15:12:53.

Leave a Comment