Making your own pellets

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tjnamtiw

Minister of Fire
I know that there are sites and forums for making your own pellets and I don't know if you all frequent both here and there. However, for multifuel stoves, it appears that these 'home made pellets' made out of hay, sawdust, or other bio-crop remains work just fine. The big drawback is justifying the price, at least for me. I searched the DOE site but couldn't find any reference to these small machines as far as tax breaks go. I wrote a letter to the Secretary of Energy and said this:

Hi
Greetings,

I am thrilled to be able to take advantage of some of the energy saving tax credits put forth in the Economic Stimulus package, such as biomass pellet stoves to heat my house. In searching through your site, I see several categories for using biomass to generate biodiesel and ethanol; however, I don't see any incentives to make the biomass pellets for these pellet stoves. Of course, there are now several mills set up to manufacture pellets made from sawdust; however, they ONLY use sawdust and because of the housing starts being down, the raw material is in short supply resulting in high prices for the pellets. Many owners of pellets stoves, especially in the Northeast, are talking on their forums about going back to oil heat since it is cheaper. This defeats the incentives for pellet stove purchases and makes the President's desire for oil independence be pushed in the wrong direction.
My question is 'Can we as purchasers and users of pellet stoves get a tax incentive if we make our own pellets?' There are machines available to the home user (www.makeyourownpellets.com and www.makewoodpellets.com ) that allow us to make pellets from hay, grass, junk mail, corn cobs, corn stalks, etc. that the big producers of pellets will not use because the throughput is not as great. For us, the throughput is sufficient for our needs and perhaps a few neighbors who can pool their labor to make the pellets.
Is there anywhere in the law that provides such tax incentives for the purchase of this equipment?

Thanks you very much for your patience and consideration.

Now we'll see if I get a response.

Just FYI in case anyone was considering this.
 

Rickster

Member
Jul 19, 2008
49
CT
Well done.
I was recently thinking along those same lines. But I would take it a step further and push for incentives for creating fuel supply rather than just making pellets.
I just saw a spot on the nightly news about homeowners in suburban areas like L.A. where they have turned their front and back lawns into vegetable gardens and are producing more than enough to eat so they are selling to their neighbors. Heck, I would plow under my front and back lawns and plant switchgrass if I could heat my home for free and sell the rest for profit! Anyway, I hope you get a response and post it here.
 

tjnamtiw

Minister of Fire
I'll definitely post any replies. I have yet to get any replies from the WhiteHouse.gov site, but I didn't expect any, given the content of my letters. :eek:)
That's a great idea to plant victory gardens again. I'm doing that in my back yard. We have been busily rototilling it and planning a nice herb/vegetable/relaxing setting. Wouldn't that be something to heat your home on what you harvest. I've been harvesting oak trees for 20 years off of my three acres but the ole bones have said 'Enough already' hence the switch to biofuel stove research.
Thanks. Everyone should write to the Secretary and get his attention. I'm sure mine has already hit the circular file.

Tom
 

jtakeman

Minister of Fire
Dec 30, 2008
13,497
Northwestern CT.
www.facebook.com
Interesting, I have heard of someone making pellets from there news papers and cardboard boxes that would normally go to the recycler.

Other videos are on you-tube. where people are using there normal lawn clippings and leaf's in the fall to make pellets too!

The prices I have seen for working units have them out of my price range, But a gov grant or rebate would at least make me think about this.

jay
 

tjnamtiw

Minister of Fire
That was my thinking also. It at least would 'ease' the pain of buying the equipment. Sharing the costs and labor among a group of 'friends' would also be an option if the friends can be relied upon to provide the labor and money to share in the product. I've read that hay is working very well. You could convert a 1000 pound of rolled hay into pellets in less than a day with two/three people sharing in the work of hammermilling it, feeding the pelletizer, cooling the pellets on wire trays and bagging in sandbags.
 

Sting

Feeling the Heat
Jan 8, 2008
477
Wisconsin
Two or three people making less than a ton of usable product in "less than a day" using equipment procured and run at what expense even if scrounged????

Surely your making a point that the time, effort, and capitol investment could be better spent!
 

tjnamtiw

Minister of Fire
Sting said:
Two or three people making less than a ton of usable product in "less than a day" using equipment procured and run at what expense even if scrounged????

Surely your making a point that the time, effort, and capitol investment could be better spent!

No, not at all. I'm talking about two or three FRIENDS spending some 'productive' time together bonding around a pelletizer instead of a TV drinking beer. The minimum I've seen on a diesel powered pelletizer is 200 pounds per hour, so just taking it easy you could do that 1000 pounds in 5 hours, which is a leisurely pace. If you want to WORK, you could make a ton in a day but my point was that IF you had friends, you could pool your time, effort and capital to make product and avoid the pellet scalpers you are all talking about in other threads. Finally, the diesel mill uses 1 quart of fuel per hour so you would need 1 1/4 gallons of fuel for those 1000 pounds. About $2.60.
Also, the upper limits advertised as throughput is 500 pounds per hour.
 

Delta-T

Minister of Fire
Feb 27, 2008
3,146
NH
I met a gent at an Energy Conference last year that got a pellitzer for free with some grant money. He was/is using it to make switchgrass pellets. I beleive he got the grant from the Dept of Agriculture, not Energy (odd). Might be worth it to investigate. Just as a side note, the difficult part of pelletizing agri-waste is the lack of Lingnens. You can add the fiber to any stock to get better compression and adhesion. Good luck
 

tjnamtiw

Minister of Fire
Yea, there is a binder available that is modified starch for such occasions. That is REALLY interesting about the free equipment, have to check that out.
 

4124elad

New Member
Aug 24, 2008
53
I have been considering purchasing a small pellet mill. If the pellet producers sell substandard pellets that cause me problems. Then why not produce my own substandard pellets.

If pellets made from pine needles burn hald as good as some of the pellets I have used then I could heat my house forever on the 20 acres of pine needle behind my house.
 

JustWood

Minister of Fire
Aug 14, 2007
3,596
Arrow Bridge,NY
I have a hammermill for sale for anyone wanting to give this idea a whirl. The screen in it now produces 1"- product. That wood have to be changed and I do know a company that custom builds screens to your spec.One of the feed motors is bad and needs replaced at $120.
$3500 loaded on your truck including starter/control panel and blower.
 

tjnamtiw

Minister of Fire
4124elad said:
I have been considering purchasing a small pellet mill. If the pellet producers sell substandard pellets that cause me problems. Then why not produce my own substandard pellets.

If pellets made from pine needles burn hald as good as some of the pellets I have used then I could heat my house forever on the 20 acres of pine needle behind my house.

I haven't read of anyone making pellets from pine needles, but it could be possible. Certainly there is a lot of heat value in them. Going through the hammer mill to be chopped up into small pieces could be a problem since they are just as likely to go straight through like a needle through a hole. A rake behind a four wheeler could harvest them in a hurry.
 

tjnamtiw

Minister of Fire
Nitch said:
Hello,
I'm creating my own fuel supply by thinning out my woods and chipping. I then dry the chips down, run them through my hammermill and then through the pellet mill. Here's the blog I have been neglecting as of late. http://blog.sleepersriveralternative.com

I spent most of the winter cutting on the edges of farmfields. As soon as those fields dry out I'm going to start chipping. I have yet to really put out a product however but I think I'm set to start kicking butt. Good thing too cause the contracting work I used to do is non-existent.

Sounds good, Nitch. You have a plan. What equipment did you buy? Where did you buy it? Direct import? (so much cheaper that way).
 

tjnamtiw

Minister of Fire
SAWDUST SWEAT & TEARS said:
I have a hammermill for sale for anyone wanting to give this idea a whirl. The screen in it now produces 1"- product. That wood have to be changed and I do know a company that custom builds screens to your spec.One of the feed motors is bad and needs replaced at $120.
$3500 loaded on your truck including starter/control panel and blower.

That must be one big hammer mill if it has 1" holes in the screen! 3 phase motors?????
 

JustWood

Minister of Fire
Aug 14, 2007
3,596
Arrow Bridge,NY
tjnamtiw said:
SAWDUST SWEAT & TEARS said:
I have a hammermill for sale for anyone wanting to give this idea a whirl. The screen in it now produces 1"- product. That wood have to be changed and I do know a company that custom builds screens to your spec.One of the feed motors is bad and needs replaced at $120.
$3500 loaded on your truck including starter/control panel and blower.

That must be one big hammer mill if it has 1" holes in the screen! 3 phase motors?????
Footprint is about 4'x14'. 60 HP main and several 1.5 HP feed motors. 3 phase/480V.
It actually is a very small hammermill. Screen size is 5/8 which allows a 1" minus end product.
My dad worked for Georgia Pacific in Maine years ago and they had a 1000 HP hammermill.
 

jtakeman

Minister of Fire
Dec 30, 2008
13,497
Northwestern CT.
www.facebook.com
A little to big for the average home user and 3 phase isn't available in residential area's. Too costly to produce the 3rd phase!

jay
 
In Ontario, we supply 347/600V wye system (if 3ph power 14.4/25Kv is close by... it runs right past our house)..... 480V motors would have to be changed out or buy a dry-core transformer to make 480V 3ph $$$ ouch!. Think I will put that $$$ towards a couple of or rather 20 tons or so of good pellets. :lol: :lol:
 

JustWood

Minister of Fire
Aug 14, 2007
3,596
Arrow Bridge,NY
3 phase is in more places than you may think and if not a phase inverter will make what voltage is needed.
CC, your right about tarnsformer cost ,OUCH!!!! but to swap out motors wood be cheap. There is a ton of used stuff out there.
 
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