An Associated Press article (July 24) regarding particulate emissions of pellet stoves was so one-sided as to be little more than an advertisement for oil dealers. The story spotlighted the one area in which fuel oil is cleaner than pellets (particulate emissions) and conveniently ignored many other considerations which make wood pellets a superior choice for the environment. That the “study” was commissioned by the Maine Oil Dealers Association raises serious questions about its objectivity.

Unlike oil, wood pellets are carbon-neutral, contributing nothing to global warming. Pellets are made from sawdust and other wood by-products, generating heat from materials which would otherwise end up in landfills. Wood pellets are readily available in Maine and, unlike oil, are a renewable resource. Pellets require far less energy to transport here than does oil. Once burned, premium-quality wood pellets generate about a half-percent of their content as ash, a ready fertilizer. Pellet stoves run at 80 percent efficiency or better, easily comparable to typical oil heating systems. And one ton of wood pellets generates the energy equivalent of 2.8 barrels of oil, an important consideration in this time of astronomical petroleum costs and Middle-East instability.

Yes, pellet stoves emit a bit more particulates than do oil furnaces (albeit much less than conventional wood stoves), but given the many environmental advantages of wood pellet fuel, I believe pellets are absolutely worth considering.

John Neal, Greene

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