What is the calorifc value of wood?


The calorific value of a fuel expresses the amount of energy released during the complete combustion of a mass unit of a fuel.

The moisture content of wood changes the calorific value of the latter by lowering it. Part of the energy released during the combustion process is spent in water evaporation and is consequently not available for any wished-for thermal use.

Water evaporation involves the “consumption” of 2.44 MJ per kilo of water. It is thereby possible to distinguish between the following:

Net calorific value (NVC):                    

The water released is treated as a vapour, i.e. the thermal energy required to vaporize the water (latent heat of vaporization of water at 25°C) has been subtracted.

Gross calorific value (GVC):                

The water in the combustion products is treated as liquid. When not specified, “calorific value” is to be intended as net calorific value.

The oven-dry calorific value (NCV0) of wood of different wood species varies within a very narrow interval, from 18.5 to 19 MJ/Kg. In conifers it is 2% higher than in broad-leaved. This difference is due especially to the higher lignin content and partly also to the higher resin, wax and oil content present in conifers. Compared to cellulose (17.2-17.5 MJ/kg) and hemicellulose (16 MJ/kg), lignin has a higher NCV0 (26-27 MJ/kg). Some variability in the anhydrous calorific value is also due to the slight variability in hydrogen (H) content and to the comparatively much wider variability in ash contents.

However, when taking into account agricultural biofuels as well, the oven-dry calorific value varies within a 16.5 to 19 MJ/Kg interval. The NCV0 of wood fuels is on average 9% higher than that of herbaceous plants.


Below you will find an overview of selected raw materials. 

Are you struggling to figure out what the calorific value for your raw material is, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Download the full list here.

Raw MaterialKJ/Kg (KiloJoule/Kg) Lower calorific valuesKJ/Kg (KiloJoule/Kg) Higher calorific valuesBtu/Kg (British thermal unit/kg)Lower calorific valuesBtu/Kg (British thermal unit/kg)Higher calorific values
Birch wood18700201001772819055
Pine wood19500208001848619718
Douglas pine wood19700210001867619908
Spruce wood18500198001753818770
Cherry wood17900191001696918107
Cypress wood21500230002038221804
Elm wood19000205001801219434
Eucaluptus wood18300196001734818581
Maple wood18700200001772818960
Larch wood18700201001772819055
Poplar wood19400208001839119718
Teak wood18900202001791719150
Coconut trunk wood16600178001573716874
Willow wood17300186001640017633
Hardwood bark18300196001734818581
Oak bark18300193001734818296
Pine bark19700210001867619908
Spruce bark19100203001810719244
Cedar bark19800211001877020003
Douglas fir bark20800221001971820951
Eucaluptus bark17300185001640017538
Miscantus/Napier grass17800191001687418107
Cotton gin trash1520016001441015452
Cotton stalks17000183001611617348
Jute stick17800194001687418391
Corn stalks/stover16800185001592617538
Suger cane bagasse17700194001678018391
Wheat straw15000189001422017917
Rice straw13500148001279814030
Rice husk14200154001346214599
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