In January 2021, a new federal tax credit was created with the intention of inviting homeowners to switch to sustainable and environmentally friendly heat options. By investing in biomass-fueled heating alternatives, homeowners can save money while being more eco-conscious and replace ordinary oil and gas heat that produces harmful carbon emissions.
Biomass is organic matter, such plant material, that can be burned and used as an energy source or fuel. This includes wood pellets that can be burned in a pellet stove. What makes wood pellets a sustainable, environmentally friendly heat alternative is all in how pellets are made, and what they are made from.
The materials that make up a compressed wood pellet begin with scraps, including sawdust, wood chips, lumber mill scraps and large pieces of wood or trees unsuitable for lumber.
Raw material is broken down into consistent, small pieces using chipping machines or hammer mills. This will ensure that the moisture content, heat value, and ash content are consistent in the pellet.
Once the raw material is broken into smaller pieces, it must be dried to a consistent moisture level. It is sent through a large dryer drum and heated to dry out excess moisture.
A pellet die compresses the material together with high pressure. This causes the wood materials to heat up and release natural lignins that bind the materials together into a single pellet.
Cooled and Hardened
Once the pellets are heated up and compressed into a single piece, they are hardened during the cooling process in cooling towers and stored in silos before bagging.
Bagged and Shipped
Pellets are typically bagged into 40-lb. plastic bags and stacked 50 bags into a pallet or skid, equaling around one ton (2,000 lbs.) of pellets. They are then wrapped and shipped to distributors.
So how does this process impact the environment?
- Using raw, leftover materials from natural, sustainable sources for heat reduces carbon emissions caused by oil drilling or mining.
- Wood pellets are made from carbon-neutral sources without any additives or adhesives, which affects their emissions when being burned.
- Rather than remaining as raw material, compressed wood pellets burn more efficiently due to their size and consistency and produce a higher heat value with little air pollution or creosote.
In addition to the pellets themselves, pellet stoves are an eco-conscious heating alternative due to the materials and costs required. Typically, pellet stoves are less expensive to build and install since they can be direct-vented outside rather than requiring a costly chimney, flue, or gas line that can all produce dangerous creosote.
From collection to compression to your pellet stove, the life cycle of a wood pellet creates little air pollution and carbon emissions, making pellet heat an eco-friendlier alternative to non-renewable fossil fuels, such as oil, coal, or gas.
At Higgins, we carry top name brands of pellet stoves to fit every style, budget, and home. Plus, with many pellet types and brands available in a range of prices, plus available delivery services, your pellet heat can be easier and more affordable than ever! If you are ready to take advantage of the federal tax credit and make the switch to an eco-friendlier heat, give us a call, or shoot us a text at 978-355-6343 to get started!