Written by Tom on Monday 05/02/07
Where I come from there a several saw mills each with its growing mountain of saw dust, they can’t give it away and were glad for me to take as much as I could carry.
We all know what wood pellets are, compressed saw dust. The technology used in the compression, the dies, the hydraulics, the 3 phase motors required to drive the whole thing is beyond the do it yourself-er. So I was thinking the problem is the binding of the saw dust. The standard pellet uses huge compression to achieve binding was there another way. I did a couple of tests and mixing saw dust with water and letting it dry you get sawdust, the trick is to find a flammable binder that is free.
What about news paper? I mixed up half a bucket of news paper pulp and added half a bucket of sawdust with plenty of water and let it sit for a couple of days. Then I got my wife’s paper making kit, in was an A5 tray. I made a couple of A5 bricks and set them out to dry. (What I really wanted was an old ringer washing machine. You could mix up the saw dust and paper in the tub then put it in wooden trays and put it through the ringer to get rid of most of the water, alas I could not find one) A week later when I got back to the paper/sawdust bricks then were dry an had some structural integrity. I ended up breaking them into smaller pieces when I burnt them.
There are mountains of energy sitting out beside every saw mill around the world. The possibility of replacing compression sawdust binding (wood pellets) with an alternative low tech solution will require a bit more investigation.