Technical Note SB84: Solid biofuel from paper

Paper pellets

Waste paper and cardboard can be recycled to be used as a solid biofuel however because of the inks and dyes often found in waste paper care needs to be taken with regard to the types of boiler it can be combusted in. The inks and dyes may be toxic so it shouldn’t be used as fuel in low temperature combustors such as for residential heating.

When waste paper is made into biomass pellets, it can be used as a green renewable energy resource with a wide range of applications.  The waste paper pellet is a high efficient fuel that plays an important role in family heating, cooking, generating electricity, or as industrial fuel.  The pellets are of high calorific value with little smoke and ash left. That is to say, the utilization of waste paper pellets can not only create great economic benefit, but also save a lot of labour.

The amount of waste paper and cardboard in the country is enormous, and the paper and cardboard waste can be a problem for recycling if it is not able to be remade into green paper or cardboard.  Recycling paper and cardboard is quite the obvious option for heat but it is best to try and use it locally so as to avoid long transport distances to a central pelletising facility or paper mill etc.  While ideally the pellets are used in large scale high temperature boilers for electricity generation, in some cases, some pellets can potentially be used in small home pellet stoves or boilers provided they have been tested to ensure safety.