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Reference customer best:Pellets | Pellet breakage and dust into high-quality energy pellets

Innovative utilization of pellet breakage & dust: best:Pellets increases value creation through sustainable technology

The pellet dust generated during daily operations was a long-standing issue for the wood pellet trading company best:Pellets. “The material was either given away for free or disposed of at great cost,” says Aleksander Kuzmanovic, Regional Manager for Southern Germany. The optimal solution for bestwas found with the company Ecokraft and their pelletizing plant. Since February 2023, the wood pellet trading company has been pressing the dust into pellets and marketing it. This process has enabled the efficient utilization of the material and expanded the value creation at the warehouse.

best:Pellets trades in wood pellets that are certified to EN plus A1 standards. The raw material comes from sustainably managed, local forests. “Wood is a cost-effective and future-proof fuel that regenerates, burns CO2-neutrally, and thus is climate-friendly,” says Kuzmanovic. The 39-year-old business economist and industrial manager has been the Regional Manager for Southern Germany since January 1 of this year, responsible for the leadership and management of the company.

The certified wood pellets are sourced from local sawmills and wood pellet production facilities within a 100 km radius, where they are produced from by-products of sawmilling, such as shavings or wood chips. The primary customers are private end users with single-family, two-family, and multi-family houses. Additionally, the pellets are also supplied to municipal utilities, communities, housing cooperatives, and property management companies.

“We specialize in wood pellets with a focus on end-user sales,” emphasizes Aleksander Kuzmanovic. A modern fleet of over 20 trucks is employed for this purpose. Trained professionals deliver the wood pellets with an onboard weighing system and dust extraction. Thanks to numerous handling and storage locations in Germany, flexible delivery options are available. The main office for the Regional Manager is the sales location in Donaueschingen.

Figure 1: Aleksander Kuzmanovic, Regional Manager for Southern Germany, in front of his company's sign

Due to the energy crisis triggered by the war in Ukraine, pellet prices soared, and the company sought a way to add value to the dust generated at the warehouse. “Until then, it was almost given away to various horse farms or even disposed of at high costs,” reflects Kuzmanovic. The high energy prices gave new impetus to this issue and were decisive in the decision to refine this costly raw material.

Giuseppe, the warehouse manager at the Pforzheim handling site, discovered Ecokraft through his online research and set the wheels in motion with the former managing director. The raw material was packed, transported to Plattling, and tested on-site. The test pelletizing worked, the expert advice was convincing, and the process promised the desired effect. Then things moved quickly. After the purchase agreement, Ecokraft employees delivered the machine to Pforzheim – the warehouse with the highest pellet handling volume and thus the most dust – set it up, and trained the warehouse manager. “Since then, the plant has been running consistently and sustainably,” confirms Kuzmanovic. Giuseppe, who oversees the process with his colleague to ensure consistent quality, also confirms this. The pre-sale advice and support from Ecokraft were very good and professional from the beginning. The on-site training, including tips and tricks from Ecokraft’s staff, took about a week, after which the plant could be operated independently. The service for addressing any problems and the prompt delivery of spare parts, such as new dies, ensures that the process remains continuous.

Figure 2: Aleksander Kuzmanovic with warehouse manager Giuseppe in front of an Ecokraft Big Bag filled with fresh energy pellets

The Ecokraft plant operates from Monday to Friday, averaging six to seven hours per day. It presses the dust, which is collected from the silo through a rotary sieve to the truck filling stage. This dust is collected in Big Bags at all bestwarehouses and transported to Pforzheim for processing. The approximately 700 kg and 1.5 cubic meter bags are stored there until it is their turn. Giuseppe then uses a forklift to lift the bags and fill the storage bunker, which is the first part of the Ecokraft plant. A screw conveyor feeds the raw material onto a conveyor belt. The next step is the addition of corn starch to replace the natural binder lignin and water to achieve the correct residual moisture. The material then moves to the press, which has a production capacity of 200 to 250 kg per hour. The pellets, measuring 3.15 to 4 mm in length, are conveyed via a conveyor belt into Big Bags where they cool down and are stored separately from the certified products in another warehouse.

Figure 3: Ecokraft pelletizing plant - from the material bunker through the pellet press to the screening system

They are marketed as industrial goods, referred to as “B-grade” pellets for industrial customers, such as manufacturing and commercial businesses and nurseries. The resulting dust is once again recycled into the process. “We thus sustainably recycle our waste continuously,” says Kuzmanovic, noting that the dust accounts for about one percent of the throughput. The customer base for industrial pellets is steadily growing. They order 10 to 20 tons per delivery, up to twice a year, with some contracts having annual terms. “B-grade pellets are cheaper than the current market price for certified pellets. The feedback from our customers is very positive. They are satisfied with the appearance and the heating value is also appropriate,” adds the Regional Manager.

Figure 4: Pick-up of the energy pellets by a best:Pellets truck.

The benefits of pelletizing are evident. “We are very satisfied with the specially developed, innovative refinement process. This actively helps us keep our own CO2 footprint as small as possible,” explains Aleksander Kuzmanovic, who adds that the use of the latest technologies in truck route planning also contributes to sustainability. Equally important to him is the regional focus from sourcing materials to pellet production and delivery to the end customer. Finally, having our own storage and handling sites ensures independence and security of supply, so customers can rely on being supplied locally.

Figure 5: Aleksander Kuzmanovic with his own brand best:Pellets and the final products for customers

“All in all, I am satisfied with the dust pelletizing process. It was a good investment. The quality and length distribution are correct. The value creation increases, especially with high market prices, as we no longer have to give away or dispose of the material for free. With proper maintenance and care, I expect the Ecokraft plant to be durable,” summarizes the 39-year-old. He is aware that the dust process has its limits but reveals: “There is definitely a demand for processing a certain amount, so I can imagine installing and operating an additional Ecokraft press at a different location in the future.”

Website of best:Pellets:

- Helga Gebendorfer -


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