When logs are converted into pellets, approximately 85–90% becomes available as energy, making it a highly efficient fuel.
Because the wood is dried and compressed, the quality is more uniform than firewood or other wood-based fuels, plus pellets have a high heating value and are convenient to transport and store.
Additionally, wood pellets differ from gas, kerosene, or other fossil fuels in that there is no danger of leakage or explosions, and fuel replenishment is simple. Pellets have low moisture content, so they burn efficiently, and result in virtually no carbon monoxide emissions if there is incomplete combustion.
So, for users pellets are a safe and reliable fuel.
Let us compare wood pellets to other types of fuel in terms of costs.
Because the price of crude oil fluctuates dramatically, the price differences between wood pellets and kerosene or fuel oil will also expand and contract over time. In recent years when comparing wood pellets to petroleum-based fuels, in more cases than earlier the price is lower per 1,000 kcal of thermal output.
Starting in the 2000s, the problems of global warming and rising crude oil prices came to the fore, and more local governments in Japan began offering subsidies for introducing pellet stoves and other equipment. Homeowners also became increasingly interested in pellet stoves for home heating.
■Cost Comparison of Wood Pellets and Other Fuels
※Note: The heating value of wood pellets varies according to type of tree and part of tree used.
||Price per 1,000 kcal
|Class A heavy oil
Approximately 66% of Japan's land area is forested. Japan is also the third most forested country in the world. Plus, forests account for 84% of the total land mass of Kochi Prefecture, the most of any of the 47 prefectures in Japan.
When pellets made from the abundant timber available locally are used as a local energy source, the system is highly ecological. Forests are the treasure troves of mountainous regions.
Why not make better use of such nearby resources?