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Comparing Apples to Apples.... or Pellets to Pellets

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by MikePelletier, Jul 16, 2008.

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  1. MikePelletier

    MikePelletier Member

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    Does anyone know of an independent lab or organization that tests pellets for BTU output, ash content etc, and then SHARES THE DATA? I have been able to find cost comparisons for different fuels etc, but a third party verification of manufacturer's claims would certainly help make an educated purchase decision.

    I'd appreciate any leads.

    Thanks!

    Mike

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  2. rayttt

    rayttt Feeling the Heat

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  3. MikePelletier

    MikePelletier Member

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    Thanks for the reply. That was the first place I looked. I think they probably have the information but prefer not to publish it. Maybe they receive support from the manufacturers and don't want to embarrass anyone. In any case, given the price and limited supply of pellets, it would be nice to know what we're getting for our money.

    Thanks again. Hopefully there will be other leads.

    Mike
  4. Kenny1

    Kenny1 Feeling the Heat

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    I don't know if there would be much point.

    As the raw materials going into the plant change, the results would also change.

    To have very precise analysis done would only be useful if you bought from the same batch that was tested, or if the plant has very little variation in their raw materials.

    Cheers

    Kenny
  5. kinsmanstoves

    kinsmanstoves Minister of Fire

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    Remember..

    Pellets leaving the mill are one thing and how the retail location stores them is another thing.

    Pellets stored outside are affected by the elements. Rain bags, plastic wrap, and plastic bags sweat and condensate causing the pellets to suck up the moisture. If your pellets get wet they will lose the density and this will affect your burn. Pellets need to be stored out of the weather.

    I am sure pellets leave the mill in perfect condition but retailers who do not store them inside are the problem.

    Ask when you buy the pellets how they were stored.
  6. MikePelletier

    MikePelletier Member

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    Thanks for the input. I guess the frustrating part is that they are the manufacturers.
    If the materials change from batch to batch, what is the point of publishing "specs"? It
    is the responsibility of the manufacturer to control the integrity of the batches. (Q.A.)
    If it's going to be a crap shoot every batch, how can they claim anything to begin with?

    Thanks again.

    Mike
  7. Kenny1

    Kenny1 Feeling the Heat

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    Well, (if it were me making pellets), I would use specs that I would be sure to hit, but the customer should expect some variation.

    If pellets are spec'ed as >1% ash, does it matter if it is 0.01% or 0.99%? There might be a difference, but both would meet the published spec of >1%. The hard part for us customers would be using one brand that has extremely low ash, but find that the next year the same brand has "more" ash. In both cases, the ash content was >1%.

    And (as pointed out), there are items beyond the pellet plants control (moisture, dust due to handling, etc).

    To put the shoe on the other foot, what would be your preferred specifications? How much ash would you find acceptable? What would be the minimum BTU content? Or, in other word, how good is good enough?

    I know that I also spend too much time trying to find the "best". I think that perhaps I should shift my focus on some things from trying to buy the "best" to buying what I need at an acceptable price.



    Cheers


    Kenny
  8. MikePelletier

    MikePelletier Member

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    Hi Kenny.

    Thanks for the reply. I agree that at the end of the day, you have to make a decision based on price and availability. And it would be easy to get lost in the minutia. You're right. 0.01 and 0.0099 are virtually the same for our purposes. It would just be nice to have a level playing field where everyone has been tested by an independent lab and the results published. Maybe someday!!

    Thanks again.

    Mike
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