Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Fuel Value Calculator

Fuel Value Calculator:

A while ago this handy tool for comparing fuel budgets was introduced to us.  We wanted to share it with all of you.   Skip past the equations if they don't mean much to you.  The information is very interesting to anyone using wood to heat their home.  Read through some of the excerpts below then click the link for the full file.  


The Fuel Value Calculator is a tool that can be used to
compare typical unit costs of various fuels. Originally
developed by A.B. Curtis, Jr., of the USDA Forest Service’s
Southern Region, the fifth edition of the Calculator has
been published in cooperation with the USDA Forest
Service, Forest Products Laboratory, and the Pellet Fuels
Institute in Arlington, Virginia. The following information
is to be used in conjunction with the Calculator, which is
available by contacting the Forest Products Laboratory.

Cost Comparison

Here, two examples are provided to show how wood can be
a competitive alternative to fossil fuels. Based on typical
boiler efficiencies for fuel costing $3/million Btu
($15/million Btu), the examples show that you can buy
green wood (at 50% moisture content (MC) on a wet basis)
with the same heat content as natural gas or electricity for
$17.22/ton ($86.10/ton) compared with $2.46/1000 ft³
($12.30/1000 ft³) for natural gas or $0.010/kWh
($0.050/kWh) for electricity. The calculations are useful in
developing a budget for annual fuel costs...

Heating Values

The concept of latent heat of vaporization is important to
understand in order to know the useful energy available
from any type of fuel that contains water, including wood,
coal, and peat. In wood or wood products, this water is
referred to as moisture content (MC). Commonly, water
makes up half the weight of a living tree and, if wood is
used for fuel, its MC is a factor in determining its energy

Residential Heating Example

During a heating season, between 50 and 150 million Btu
of energy are typically used to heat an average-sized home.
For comparison, the following chart shows an example of
expected annual costs of heating a home (assuming 100
million Btu of energy for the heating season) using natural
gas, propane, fuel oil #2, seasoned firewood, wood pellets,
and electricity. Note: Although natural gas, fuel oil, and
propane can be sold per therm, which measures heat
content of the fuel, the example uses volume (1000 ft3 of
natural gas ≈ 1 million Btu; 1 million Btu = 10 therms)...

For the complete Fuel Value Calculator click the link:


Posted by Don Squire - Hawken Energy Outdoor Wood Furnaces
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