Patent application title: EXTRUDED AROMATIC BARBEQUE PELLETS AND BRIQUETTES
Milt Geffen (Kennewick, WA, US)
IPC8 Class: AC10L544FI
Class name: Fuel and related compositions consolidated solids (e.g., briquette, etc.) vegetation or refuse
Publication date: 2013-03-21
Patent application number: 20130067805
Disclosed is a process for preparing wood pellets for barbequing or use
in a smoker or pellet grill, by mixing hard wood particles with particles
of fruit pomace and/or fruit waste and/or aromatic cellulosic materials.
After drying, the source stream materials are ground to a desired size,
and blended, and extruded. The heat of extrusion softens the lignin in
the wood, which acts as a binder to form the pellets and holds the
pellets together after the pellets cool.
1. A method of making combustible pellets, comprising the steps of:
drying hardwood pieces selected from the group consisting of cherry,
apple, peach, apricot, nectarine, plum, prune, pear, sugar maple, English
& black walnut, beechnut, almond, chestnut, hazelnuts, pistachio, pecan,
hickory, mesquite, oak, alder, and grapevine; grinding said hardwood
pieces to a selected piece size; drying pomace and/or fruit waste
selected from the group consisting of wine pomaces, grape, blueberry,
cherry, strawberry, apple, marionberry, blackberry, raspberry,
huckleberry, peach, pear, plum, prune, cranberry pomaces, and citrus
fruit peels. grinding said pomace and/or fruit waste to a selected piece
size; blending said hardwood pieces with said pomace pieces and/or fruit
waste in a selected ratio; extruding the mixture of hardwood pieces and
said pomace and/or fruit waste pieces using added steam and the lignin of
said hardwood pieces as the binding agent; and cooling said extruded
mixture to a desired temperature.
2. The method of making combustible pellets of claim 1 which further includes the steps of: drying aromatic cellulosic material selected from the group consisting of grape, blueberry, marionberry, blackberry, raspberry, huckleberry) and/or herb plants (these include: rosemary, beer hops, sage, oregano, thyme and basil branches and leaves; and blending said aromatic cellulosic material with said hardwood pieces and/or said pomace pieces or fruit waste for extrusion.
3. The method of making combustible pellets of claim 1 in which said hardwood pieces make up approximately 50 to 94 percent of the mixture to be extruded, and said pomace pieces and/or fruit waste make up approximately 50 to 6 percent of the mixture to be extruded.
4. The method of making combustible pellets of claim 1 in which said hardwood pieces make up approximately 50 to 94 percent of the mixture to be extruded, and said aromatic cellulosic pieces make up approximately 40 to 6 percent of the mixture to be extruded.
5. The method of claim 1 in which the step of grinding said hardwood pieces further comprises grinding said hardwood pieces to a size of 4-10 mesh (4 and 10 mesh to the inch).
6. The method of claim 1 in which the step of grinding said pomace pieces further comprises grinding said pomace pieces to a size of 4-10 mesh. (4 and 10 mesh to the inch)
7. The method of claim 1 in which the step of drying said hardwood pieces further comprises drying said hardwood pieces to a moisture content of under 20% moisture.
8. The method of making combustible pellets of claim 1 in which said hardwood pieces make up approximately 75 to 94 percent of the mixture to be extruded, and said pomace and/or fruit waste pieces make up approximately 30 to 6 percent of the mixture to be extruded.
9. The method of making combustible pellets of claim 1 in which said hardwood pieces make up approximately 50 to 94 percent of the mixture to be extruded, and said aromatic cellulosic pieces make up approximately 50 to 6 percent of the mixture to be extruded.
10. A method of making combustible pellets, comprising the steps of: drying hardwood pieces selected from the group consisting of cherry, apple, peach, apricot, nectarine, plum, prune, pear, sugar maple, English & black walnut, beechnut, almond, chestnut, hazelnuts, pistachio, pecan, hickory, mesquite, oak, alder, and grapevine to a moisture content of under 20%; grinding said hardwood pieces to a selected piece size; drying pomace and/or fruit waste selected from the group consisting of wine pomaces, grape, blueberry, cherry, strawberry, apple, marionberry, blackberry, raspberry, huckleberry, peach, pear, plum, prune, cranberry pomaces, and citrus fruit peels grinding said pomace and/or fruit waste to a selected piece size; drying aromatic cellulosic material selected from the group consisting of grape, blueberry, marionberry, blackberry, raspberry, huckleberry) and/or herb plants (these include: rosemary, beer hops, sage, oregano, thyme and basil branches and leaves to a moisture content of less than 20%; and blending said aromatic cellulosic material with said hardwood pieces and/or said pomace and/or fruit waste pieces for extrusion, at a ratio of 50-94% hardwood, 50-6 pomace and/or fruit waste pieces, and 50-6% aromatic cellulosic material; extruding the mixture of hardwood pieces and said pomace and/or fruit waste pieces using the lignin of said hardwood pieces as the binding agent; and cooling said extruded mixture to a desired temperature.
PRIORITY/CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
 This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/500379, filed Jun. 23, 2012, the disclosure of which is incorporated by reference.
 The presently disclosed and claimed inventive concepts generally relate to a method for making wood barbecue pellets, and more particularly to making wood barbecue pellets containing fresh ingredients.
 It is known in the practice of cooking foods, particularly meats, to use wood smoke to impart a flavor to foods, or to aid in preserving food by smoking. Some woods impart a specific flavor, and are sought after for use in barbequing or smoking foods. Hickory is one such flavor that is used for this purpose, and artificial flavoring to simulate hickory smoke is often used.
SUMMARY OF THE DISCLOSURE
 The invention relates to a method of making combustible wood pellets with ingredients which impart desirable flavors that can be used in smoking foods or barbequing. One blend type preferred by ourselves, our customers, and those tasting foods cooked with our pellets or smoked with our pellets is trademarked as "Washington Wine Series®". It consists of fermented red wine grapes blended with wine grapevine wood and stone-fruit wood. Another favored blend is "Beer Hop Blend®", which consists of beer hops and essence of beer hops blended with stone-fruit wood. A third favored blend is "SuperApple®", consisting of Apple wood and apple pomace. There are other similar blends in trials or preparing to be issued for commercial sale. The pellets are made by grinding dried hardwoods, such as cherry, apple, and peach, and blending the hardwoods with a similarly ground pomace or fruit processing waste, such as wine, grape, blueberry, and cherry pomaces, and citrus peels. The mixture is then extruded and cooled to form the combustible pellets.
 The invention is also capable of utilizing dried aromatic cellulosic material including blueberry, marion berry, blackberry and/or herb plants including rosemary, beer hops, sage, and oregano. These materials are combined with hardwood pieces and/or the pomace or fruit waste pieces for extrusion.
 Pomace is the product which is left over from various kinds of fruit and berry processing. For instance, when apples are peeled and cored, and the juice is pressed out of the peels and core, what remains is apple pomace. In this case the apple pomace is the apple stems, the apple cores, the apple skins, with the juice pressed out of them. Another form of apple pomace is one in which whole apples are ground and have the juice pressed out of them and the pomace is what remains. It usually has high moisture content. A similar kind of pomace is produced when juice is pressed out of grapes, blueberries, cherries or other fruits such as strawberries, marion berry, blackberry, raspberry, huckleberry, peach, pear, plum, prune and cranberry.
 Hardwoods are combined with pomace or cellulosic material in ratios to optimize combustibility and flavor enhancing attributes of the produced pellets. Hardwood materials usually make up more than half of the pellet, with a range of 50 to 94 percent. The pomace material and aromatic cellulosic materials make up the remaining 50 to 6 percent.
 The disclosed technology is a method of making combustible pellets which includes as a first step, the drying of hardwood pieces. The hardwood pieces are selected from the group of hardwoods consisting of cherry, apple, peach, apricot, nectarine, plum, prune, pear, sugar maple, walnut (English and black), beechnut, almond, chestnut, hazelnut, pistachio, pecan, hickory and mesquite, oak, alder and grapevine.
 The next step involves grinding these hardwood pieces to a selected piece size. This would typically be accomplished in hammermill type grinders, although many types of grinders would work, and would result in pieces which pass through a 1/16''square mesh. The approximate range of the piece size from the final grinding can be approximately from 1/4'' to 1/64''.
 The next step in the method is to dry pomace or other fruit waste. The pomace of each of these fruit is a fairly moist product which includes some or all of the fruit, usually with all of the juice pressed out. The drying of the fruit pomace or fruit waste can take place in a number of drying machinery including bins in which air comes through the bottom of the bin, drying on trays, drying in a vacuum, drying on rotating belts, drying by microwave, drying where the pomace is on a conveyor belt and air comes through the top of the conveyor belt or through the bottom of the conveyor belt. The pomace can start out with a moisture content of 45% to 75% and after drying the pomace generally has a moisture content of 10% to 25%.
 After drying to the desired moisture range, the next step is grinding the pomace to a selected piece size. The piece size of the pomace can range from 1/8'' to 3/4'', with a piece size of 1/4'' being preferable. Piece sizes can be determined by the number of holes in mesh per inch, with the product passing through the mesh of that size.
 The next step is to blend the hardwood pieces with the pomace pieces in a selected ratio. The ratio can range from 50/50 hardwood pieces and pomace pieces, to 94/6, 94 percent hardwood pieces and 6 percent pomace pieces.
 Another variation of the method of the disclosed technology is to add a material designated as aromatic cellulosic material to the blend of pomace and/or hardwood pieces. Aromatic cellulosic material can include parts of the plant or fruit of grape, blueberry, marion berry, blackberry, raspberry and huckleberry or herbal plants including rosemary, beer hops, sage, oregano, thyme or basil. The mixture to form the combustible pellets can include a mixture of hardwood pieces combined in a ratio of about 50/50 with aromatic cellulosic material. It can also range from 50/50 to 94/6, with 94 percent hardwood and 6 percent of aromatic cellulosic material. The range of pomace is from 0% to 30%.
 Both the hardwood pieces and the pomace pieces and the aromatic cellulosic pieces would preferably be final ground to a size of between four and ten mesh, with a preferred size being 1/64''×1/4''.
 A preferred moisture for both the hardwood pieces, the pomace pieces and the aromatic cellulosic pieces is less than 20 percent, with 15 percent moisture being a preferred target.
 Another successful mixture of the ingredients includes a mixture of hardwood pieces to pomace of 25/75, and a mixture of hardwood pieces to pomace of 94/6. These same ratios can be utilized with mixtures of hardwood and aromatic cellulosic pieces.
 After mixing the ingredients, the material is extruded, with the heat generated during extrusion being sufficient to liquefy lignins in the wood particles, which when cooled, solidify the pellets. An extruder of the roller and die type is useful, and a hole size of 1/4'' has proven satisfactory in the process. After extrusion, the pellets are allowed to cool, `fines` are sifted off, and are packaged.
 The purpose of the Abstract is to enable the public, and especially the scientists, engineers, and practitioners in the art who are not familiar with patent or legal terms or phraseology, to determine quickly from a cursory inspection, the nature and essence of the technical disclosure of the application. The Abstract is neither intended to define the inventive concept(s) of the application, which is measured by the claims, nor is it intended to be limiting as to the scope of the inventive concept(s) in any way.
 Still other features and advantages of the presently disclosed and claimed inventive concept(s) will become readily apparent to those skilled in this art from the following detailed description describing preferred embodiments of the inventive concept(s), simply by way of illustration of the best mode contemplated by carrying out the inventive concept(s). As will be realized, the inventive concept(s) is capable of modification in various obvious respects all without departing from the inventive concept(s). Accordingly, the drawings and description of the preferred embodiments are to be regarded as illustrative in nature, and not as restrictive in nature.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 FIG. 1 is a schematic of the method claimed.
 FIG. 2 is a flowchart depicting the method claimed.
 In the following description and in the figures, like elements are identified with like reference numerals.
 The use of "e.g.," "etc," and "or" indicates non-exclusive alternatives without limitation unless otherwise noted.
 The use of "including" means "including, but not limited to," unless otherwise noted.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE EXEMPLARY EMBODIMENTS
 While the presently disclosed inventive concept(s) is susceptible of various modifications and alternative constructions, certain illustrated embodiments thereof have been shown in the drawings and will be described below in detail. It should be understood, however, that there is no intention to limit the inventive concept(s) to the specific form disclosed, but, on the contrary, the presently disclosed and claimed inventive concept(s) is to cover all modifications, alternative constructions, and equivalents falling within the spirit and scope of the inventive concept(s) as defined in the claims.
 FIG. 1 illustrates one embodiment of a process for manufacturing wood pellets which will be described. In this embodiment wet pomaces and fruit waste are combined with wood to make a flavor adding wood pellet. Materials including berry vines, bushes, and/or herb plants can also be used either separately or in addition to each other.
 Hardwoods are stabilized by drying prior to chemical activity, and pomaces are stabilized by drying within 24 hours, never reaching chemical activity. Wet pomaces or fruit waste, for example, are introduced into the pomace bin 2 via the screw conveyor 1 and then via conveyor 3 into the rotary drum dryer 4 which utilizes 2.5 MMBTU gas heater 5 and blower 6 and fan 7. After the pomace is dried to about 30% moisture it would be introduced into vibrating fluid bed dryer 9 via conveyor 8 to further reduce the moisture content of the material to a final moisture content of 12% to 17%, while the dust laden air continues into cyclone 11 where the dust drops out into a barrel for removal and the clean air exits the building. The dried pomace or fruit waste, when it reaches the optimum moisture content between 12% and 17%, will be dropped out into a fabric tote bag. The pomace or fruit waste can alternately be dried for a longer period of time to its final moisture content of about 12% to 17% solely in the rotary drum dryer 4 and when exiting the dryer it will drop into a fabric tote bag.
 Hardwoods will normally dry adequately for use in a mix for imminent pelletizing, but if the hardwoods are to be stored long-term they are typically dried to a lower moisture content in the rotary drum dryer 4 where they would drop into a fabric tote bag and be placed into storage.
 After the fresh ingredients are dried sufficiently to about 17% moisture, and the hardwoods dried to between 17 and 25% moisture they can be added directly into the rough grinder 14 via tilting fruit box holder 12 then conveyor 13 and after rough grinding they continue via conveyor 15 into a hopper 16 for temporary storage or continue via conveyor 17 to final grinder 18, where they can be dropped from conveyor 19 into a fabric tote bag, also for temporary storage until required for pelletizing. The preferred type of grinder is a hammer mill, and the particle size after final grinding is 1/64''+-x 1/4'' maximum, able to pass through a screen of 1/16'' square. Alternatively, the dried fresh ingredients or the dried hardwoods can continue from the final grinder 18 via conveyor 20 to the blend tank 21 which is where the raw ingredients are mixed and blended together prior to pelletizing, after which auger 22 conveys the final mix of pomace and/or citrus peels, and/or fresh spices with hardwoods to the conditioner 23 which is where steam and water are introduced into the mix for ease of pelletizing as necessary, then dropping down into the pelletizer 24. The material prior to conversion into a pellet is at ambient temperature before extrusion. Immediately after the blended material is pelletized it is approximately between 150 F to 250 F, from the introduction of steam and the high pressure encountered during extrusion. The finished pellets drop into hot auger 25 where they enter the bucket elevator 26 then drop into the pellet cooler 27 which cools the pellets to ambient temperature via a fan or fans blowing into the pellet holding chambers, or it may just be held in the pellet cooler 27 for sufficient time to drop to ambient temperature. On the bottom face of the pellet cooler 27 pellet `fines` will drop through the sifter 29 into a storage container where it can be reintroduced into the blend tank; and the pellets are sent via conveyor 28 into temporary storage tank 30. From there they can be conveyed via auger 37A or 37B onto conveyor 31 through final sifter 32 into the bagging/weighing hopper 33. They exit the hopper via the hopper vibrators into its weighing chamber, and drop out when they weigh either 20 lbs. or 1 lb., depending on the order which is programmed into its control panel, and then into a 20 lb. bag. The 20 lb. bags then continue on conveyor 34 where they travel to sewing machine 35 for sewing of the top of the bag with thread. The completed sealed bags are then loaded onto a pallet atop the pallet turntable 36, and then moved into storage or onto a truck.
 FIG. 2 depicts a flowchart of the inventive process. Hardwood material 102 is dried to the desired moisture content in drying apparatus 104. After drying the hardwoods pieces are passed to grinding apparatus 106 where the pieces are grinded to the desired size.
 Pomace pieces 108 travel through a similar process. Pomace 108 is dried in drying apparatus 110. After achieving a satisfactory moisture content the pomace 108 enters grinding apparatus 112 and is grinded to meet requirements.
 Aromatic cellulosic material 114 is dried to a specified moisture content in drying apparatus 112. Once dry, the aromatic cellulosic material 114 is grinded to a desired size in grinding apparatus 116.
 Once hardwoods pieces 102, pomace pieces 108, and aromatic cellulosic material 114 have been adequately dried and grinded the desired pieces enter blending apparatus 120 at the ratio desired by the customer. Once blended in blending apparatus 120, the materials are pelletized by extruding apparatus 122. After the material exits the extruding apparatus 122, the, now pelletized, materials are cooled in cooling apparatus 124 and are ready for packaging.
 While certain exemplary embodiments are shown in the Figures and described in this disclosure, it is to be distinctly understood that the presently disclosed inventive concept(s) is not limited thereto but may be variously embodied to practice within the scope of the following claims. From the foregoing description, it will be apparent that various changes may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the disclosure as defined by the following claims.
Patent applications in class Vegetation or refuse
Patent applications in all subclasses Vegetation or refuse