Pellet production should never completely focus on wood pellets. Other biomass materials are becoming more important as a source of fuel. One of the popular alternatives is miscanthus. Miscanthus (also known as elephant grass) can produce high yields and is therefore seen by some as the preferred biomass fuel crop. Below is a picture of a miscanthus field and a person for reference of just how high it grows.
When it comes to processing miscanthus it is harvested and baled like many other agricultural crops. The structure of the miscanthus is very hard, really it appears very similar to bamboo. For initial size reduction a bale shredder and hammer mill can easily get the material down to size. In most cases the miscanthus will be dry enough to pelletize, with typical samples been at 12% moisture content. The characteristics of miscanthus are very much like a woody biomass. The fibres are very dense and strong and this needs to be considered before processing in the pellet mill. Due to the high density of these fibres a high compression die needs to be used in the pellet mill to generate sufficient heat and compression. If steam is available this can help to sofen the fibres for easier compression in the pellet mill. Miscanthus fuel pellets cannot be used in all pellet stoves and boilers as they do produce a higher ash content than wood pellets and a possible clinker formation. Therefore many miscanthus pellets are actually used in utilities and power stations. Miscanthus has it benefits, but generally other biomass fuel crops such as hemp produce a better quality fuel pellet. Please click below to see our videos of a miscanthus pellet plant.