UK pellet equipment manufacturer offering mini mills

By Luke Geiver | May 24, 2012

A U.K. pellet mill development company has a small solution for meeting the big demands of the wood pellet market in Europe: the mini pellet mill.

PelHeat's new mini pellet mills can produce 250 to 2,000 kilograms of pellets per hour, cost roughly £4,895 ($7,670), and are designed for hospitals, schools, and other small-scale operations. In addition to the small pellet mills, the company also offers small-scale pellet mill automation units.

The equipment is intended for clients who understand the precise science of pellet production in combination with quality equipment, according to Chris Scott, founder of PelHeat. The automated system helps all users cut labor costs and make the process more efficient, he said.

The feedstock used in the mills should be less than six millimeters with moisture content below 15 percent if possible, he said. Wood-based feedstock is the norm for now, but Scott believes implementing new feedstocks will help advance the pellet industry. “The market really needs to look beyond wood and other biomass material,” he said. “Wood waste is obviously no longer free to collect, as it used to be, and the price increases year after year.”

Of all the feedstock possibilities Scott’s team has tested, hemp has proven to be the best. “It produces the same ash content as standard grade wood pellets, the same heat value and is no more corrosive, which is an issue with other materials like switchgrass or miscanthus,” he said.

Mini mills and feedstock research aren’t the only services Scott believes PelHeat can provide to the industry. “Many other pellet equipment manufacturers and resellers skip over the detail of how the pellet forms and potential issues with raw material,” he said. “Our approach is to acknowledge that the process is precise and provide as much detail on the potential issues. But we also provide lots of information on the solutions.”