Safe, Efficient Combustion for the Wood Pellet Industry

Written by Jim Kapron
Technical Sales Representative
Dec 4, 2023

In the wood pellet industry, ensuring safe and efficient combustion is paramount to both maximizing production efficiency and preventing catastrophic losses. The article discusses the importance of carefully selecting the location, analyzer type, and conditions specific to each plant to optimize combustion processes. It highlights the need for detailed monitoring of oxygen and carbon monoxide levels to achieve optimal combustion conditions, thus enhancing safety and efficiency. Additionally, it emphasizes the significance of managing syngas in dryers to prevent buildup and ensure long-lived safety, outlining how Novatech plays a crucial role in advising and equipping pellet plants with the necessary tools and knowledge for sustainable and safe operations.

What you’ll learn: 

  1. The critical role of safe combustion in enhancing efficiency and preventing disasters in the wood pellet industry
  2. Enhancing production efficiency and averting potential disasters through the implementation of secure combustion and drying processes.
  3. The pivotal role of selecting the appropriate location, utilizing the right type of analyzers, and understanding environmental conditions for optimal plant operation.
  4. The necessity of developing tailored solutions to address the distinctive challenges and requirements of each individual pellet production situation.

Safe combustion and drying can help improve production efficiency and prevent catastrophic loss of product and the entire plant. When designing a plant or adapting an established plant for increased efficiency, the location, analyzer type, and conditions need to be examined carefully. Even when buying a pre-made plant, your specific conditions may benefit from specific analyzers and locations.

Combustion results

Operators of some smaller plants only want to monitor oxygen just after the combustion burners, which provides excellent safety, but can’t ensure maximum efficiency. For increased efficiency, all plants can get closer to the optimal combustion conditions by monitoring both for the excess of oxygen and the presence of carbon monoxide. Then the boiler control can be adjusted to use only the required amount of excess oxygen to ensure complete combustion and not more. Added benefits include reduced SOx and NOx pollution with the maximum heating value of your fuel – anything from natural gas to hog fuel.

Dryer results

When it comes to the dryer, preventing syngas from building up is critical. It’s not enough to just have fans removing the syngas – it’s important to measure for the absence of oxygen and the dangerous presence of carbon monoxide and hydrogen. Sticky tar & lignin helps bind the pellets but also can clog up gas analyzers. Placing the analyzers after the wet electrostatic precipitators goes a long way to long-lived safety.

Maximize your plant’s efficiency and safety now. Consult with our experts for cutting-edge solutions and services.


In conclusion, the advancement of the wood pellet industry hinges on a focused and innovative approach toward combustion efficiency and safety. Engineers and plant operators bear the pivotal responsibility of refining and adapting their practices, taking into account the latest technological advancements and environmental considerations. Precise location selection, the meticulous choice of analyzers, and a deep understanding of combustion dynamics are essential for enhancing operational safety and efficiency. In this context, Novatech emerges as a key player, offering tailored analytical solutions and expert guidance that can significantly contribute to achieving these goals. At Novatech, we pride ourselves on providing top-notch analyzers and bespoke industry advice. Our team is committed to being your trusted partner, working hand-in-hand to drive the wood pellet industry towards greater efficiency, enhanced safety, and a sustainable future.

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Written by Jim Kapron
Technical Sales Representative
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About the author


Jim is a real-world scientist helping to move the BC economy forward with gas and liquid analyzers. In his off hours, he’s involved with music and video production. Ask him a question and he’ll locate resources to find an answer.

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