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1 ton pellets = 1.5 cord of wood? Where did they come up with this?

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by turbotech, Jan 24, 2011.

  1. turbotech

    turbotech Feeling the Heat

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    I just came across this on the web stating 1 ton of pellets = 1.5 cord of wood. What the heck are they talking about? Volume? Certainly not BTUs.
    1 cord of sesoned white oak = 2 ton = 25 million BTUs
    8000*40*50 = 16 million BTUs for 1 ton pellets.

    So 1 cord of wood has 25/16 = 1.5 BTUs than 1 ton of pellets. In other words I would need 1.5 tons of pellets to equal 1 cord of seasoned oak.
    BTUs are what matters, not volume. I wonder how many think going to pellet stove will use less when in reality it uses more.
    I am sure this must be discussed all the time, but I feel bad for the people that are fooled.

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  2. slls

    slls Minister of Fire

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    No too many people even read them stats. Pellets more convenient, no bugs, moisture content controlled.
    My pellet stove is completely automatic like my hot air furnace. Big difference I need to fill it, furnace oil comes through a pipe.
    Burned wood, way more ash than pellets. I think pellets more BTU s per pound do to more complete burn.
    IMHO
  3. turbotech

    turbotech Feeling the Heat

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    Yes, I agree. Pellets are more convenient and have advantages. I never said that wood was better. That is for the pellet vs wood people to argue about. The fact remains that properly seasoned hardwood has 1.5 times more BTUs than a 1 ton of pellets. Where do they come up with the opposite? Are they trying to say volume wise it is the other way around.
  4. Threerun

    Threerun Member

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    If they are comparing pellets to cedar or some other softwood, they may be correct, lol.
    Snowmobileaddict likes this.
  5. turbotech

    turbotech Feeling the Heat

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    Yeah, that was my first assumption. Using softwood it comes out 1 cord = 1 ton of pellets in terms of BTUs. They could compare soaking wet softwood and get 1.5. Next was the volume.
  6. BDPVT

    BDPVT Member

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    I agree BTU's are what matters. The only logical way to compare the two is by BTU content per Lb. So if 1 cord of dry White Oak weighs 4012 lbs and contains 25.7 mbtu's= 6405 btu/lb. One pound of wood pellets averages 8000 btu/lb. Pound for pound the wood pellets contain 20% more energy. Whoever posted that original quote on the web has it backwards. Just goes to show once again you can't trust the internet ( except for this forum).
  7. Pellet_Dog

    Pellet_Dog Member

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    Exactly!


    Here is a nice chart with wood BTU/cord and how much a cord of that wood weighs:

    http://www.chimneysweeponline.com/howood.htm


    To make it easy lets pick a cord of wood that weighs a ton: Eastern Red Cedar weighs about 2000 pounds per cord and contains 12.1 MBTU.


    How'd you know?


    So if you use a high estimate of wood pellets' BTU/pound rating of 8000-9000 * 2000 = 16-18 MBTU/ton you can say a ton of pellets is about 1.33 to 1.5 cords of cedar.

    Also a cord is volume and a ton is weight. The denser the wood the more weight per cord and consequently BTUs. If you look at the chart the MBTU/cord increases linearly with the weight of the cord. A cord of Shagbark Hickory weighs twice as much as a ton of Cedar and contains roughly twice as many BTUs.

    To the original poster, the comparison on the web you found isn't wrong, but it is definitely misleading as it is only true for a cord of wood that weighs a ton, and is a high estimate at that.

    It really should read a ton of pellets is equivalent to about 1.25 to 1.5 TONS of wood, not cords to keep it a pound for pound comparison.
    Shaw520 likes this.
  8. turbotech

    turbotech Feeling the Heat

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    I use 8000 btu/lb for pellets. That is realistic. Around here there is a lot of white oak. That is 4,000 lb per cord and 25.5 mbtu. If you do the math it is 1.5 ton of pellets = 1 cord of wood.
    Maybe out west they only have low quality wood that becomes better btu once compressed to make a pellet. On the east coast there is a lot of good hardwood.
  9. littlesmokey

    littlesmokey Minister of Fire

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    You know Turbo, that's a pretty elitist attitude you are taking here,. First, cord is a measurement of volume, and pellet tonnage is a measure of weight. Second moisture content is substantially less in pellets than most ready to burn firwood. Kiln dried wood is closer, but has it's own issues.

    Your rude and totally false comment about low quality wood in the West is typical of that North East arrogance. In fact your white oak barely makes it into the top ten in BTU output. Over half of the top ten are only found in quantity in the West and the South East. Two are only found in the Mid-West. And several are considered unsuited for other uses and are harvested for fuel use.

    Last but not least is the fact, yes that's right the Fact, that the consistently highest rated BTU out put is frm softwood pellets in a controlled testing envronment. Not your "in my stove tests".

    Take a deep breathe and suck it up, you wrong sucker....
  10. Threerun

    Threerun Member

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    Well here in Montana there isn't much choice but beetle killed pine and lodgepole, and that's not a whole lot of BTU for the work involved. Larch is about best, I suppose. It sure made me opt for a pellet stove rather than wood burner like I had in WV. I used to get some phenomenal heat from split osage orange, but it sure chewed through chains like mad. White and red oak cut nice, split with an axe really easily and burned well-an all around great woodburning species. I could hand split a cord of white and red oak in a day easily.
  11. turbotech

    turbotech Feeling the Heat

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    Um yeah, I am the rude one? There is good wood all over the place. I don't know why you take it personally. It wasn't meant to offend anyone. It said "Maybe out west..." and as posted some areas out west have low BTU wood just like we have around the north east in some places. Suck it up, Insert your favorite slang word here.
  12. Pellet_Dog

    Pellet_Dog Member

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    Fixed it for you. Lets leave it at that.


    One can read various posts on this forum for 5 minutes and know the hottest burning pellets come from out West; not all of us from the northeast are arrogant.
  13. littlesmokey

    littlesmokey Minister of Fire

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    Sorry Pellet Dog, didn't want to imply everyone in the North East is a jerk.
  14. turbotech

    turbotech Feeling the Heat

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    Some misunderstand the difference between volume (cord measurement) and weight. Yes, softwood has more BTUs when compressed into a pellet. No one said it doesn't. A few have mentioned comparing cords to lbs is apples to oranges. That is the point, some don't understand that and think that a pellet stove will burn less wood because of what they read on the web. On this site alone there are threads of people bummed out because they burned 5 cord and thought 3 ton of pellets would surfice. Only to find they needed 8 ton.

    It isn't about who has bigger wood, better wood, or anything. It is about understanding how things are measured and it appears the original statement is about volume.
    I can see some have deep rooted hardwood vs softwood debates that want to jump out. Making a pellet is the equalizer because of drying and compressing.
  15. Threerun

    Threerun Member

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    Well all I know is this- lifting a ton of pellets bag, by bag into the back of my pickup is a HELL of lot easier than lifting and loading 3/4 - 1 cord of unseasoned white or red oak into it, lol. That's around 6,000 lbs of load! I frankly don't give a crud if pellets are made with western softwoods, eastern hardwoods or compressed mouse turds- it's EASIER! :)
  16. CTYank

    CTYank Minister of Fire

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    If the quoted figures of percentage ash for wood and pellets are accurate, there is NO difference between them. A little more than 1%.

    As to BTU/lb for each, that's a pretty wild assumption too. (And you might assert "... DUE to ...".)

    So your main variables are moisture content and burner/heat-exchanger design (and cleaning.)
  17. jhousek1

    jhousek1 Member

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    Thats just an opinion, See when I pick up my firewood, my two sons can load it and unload it, with bags of pellets its too heavy for them. So firewood is easier for me because I don't have to do anything but drive. LOL Its all in personal point of view isn't it?......playing the devil's advocate here.
  18. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    Ex wood burner here, About the best wood I have found in the New England area is Black Locus. Stuff is like iron and burns a long time.

    Even if cord wood contained more BTU's per cord, I still would be a pellet burner for ease and convenience! Nice stable house temps and no rushing home to start the stove. My house will be warm when I get there. :) Even if it cost me a bit more I just don't care. Still got the wood burner, But only use it when I have no other choice!
    mjbrown and Shaw520 like this.
  19. Threerun

    Threerun Member

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    Lifting a freshly cut, unseasoned, unsplit log at a 2" length from a good size oak weighs a lot more than a 40lb bag of pellets man. Way more.
    If your buying firewood already split, or your cutting dead and downed stuff- sure maybe.. But I didn't do that. I collected everything I could, when I could and stockpiled. Mostly unseasoned and let her sit split for two years. It was HEAVY work.
  20. summit

    summit Minister of Fire

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    lets not forget about the 15-20% moisture you must burn off when using dry cordwood. Thats a big initial draw on the efficiency #'s when comparing to a pellet stove that is burning of almost NO moisture during the combustion cycle.

    also, you gotta weigh in the #'s on the efficiency and overall mass of the appliance. Pellet stoves heat up quick, and enter into cruise mode rather quickly than comparwed to a woodstove.
    As a test, after looking at this thread, I fired up the P68 in the shop this morning at the same time as starting a fire in the VC 2n1 Encore next to it on the display hearth. in about 8 minutes, the 68 is up to temp and cranking out heat... The woodstove? Damper is still open, waiting to get the CAT up to temp before I shut it down and start achieving my cruise range. It's been about 20 minutes, and it is still not yet to unattended operation time.

    Also gotta look at prolonged burn.. even on lower settings, a pellet unit is burning off just about everything and doing a good job extracting heat before it exits the flue... a woodstove on a long burn (no matter how efficient) is still smoldering thru a large load of fuel, and stack loss is much higher than that on a pellet unit.
  21. kinsmanstoves

    kinsmanstoves Minister of Fire

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    Just a little high on your BTU's of seasoned oak.

    Eric
  22. Edmund Smith

    Edmund Smith New Member

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    Good Morning everyone.....first I would like to say is I was a chimney sweep in Colorado Springs back in the mid 80 and we also sold firewood. So I know just a little about wood and only a little.

    We moved to NH and I got us a wood stove and my father-in-law and I cut our wood ourselves from his woodlot, and it all was standing dead.....stored it at his farm and brought it home the next year and put it ionto the basement for ease of getting it to so we could load it into the stove.....between the mice, spiders and mess she refused to use wood again.

    I just got a pellet stove....I got a ton of pellets from the dealer (energerx) and store them in the basement.....no spiders, miced or bark....cost $225 ton.

    Just did a serch on firewood Prices which is listed below......

    ... Highest quality firewood. Toll Free: (888) 288-8252. Home; ... 1 cord: $225: $300: 64: 1/2 cord: $150: $175: 32: ... Miracle Farms welcomes you to beautiful New Hampshire!

    Now.....I load my stove up in the morning....put it on the middle setting....keeps the house around 74 degrees burns all day and most of the night....empty the ash been once a week......and I have all the free time to play with my wife......which in the past was spent on cutting, splitting, stacking the wood.....then going and getting more wood every couple of hours to put into the stove.....sweeping the flue every other month or so......removing the ash's every couple of days......all the dirt around the wood stove.....I could just keep going on.......but I would rather be playing with my sweeite....I don't know about you guys but the cost is around the same....I have move fun with my sweetie than cutting, splitting, stacking the firewood.......and we are still warm.....and having a great time playing together!

    Enjoy your coments so far....keep up the good work. and stay warm
  23. Harvey Schneider

    Harvey Schneider Minister of Fire

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    Pellet stoves are higher in efficiency than wood stoves. If you take the actual BTU of the wood going into the stove, subtract the energy lost to driving out the water content and then multiply by the efficiency I think the pellet stove wins.
  24. MikeNH

    MikeNH Member

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    Wood heats four times. Cutting, splitting, stacking, burning. I used to say 4-and-a-half times because by the time I got to the stacking, the black flies were out and they piss me off.
    FyreBug likes this.
  25. Central NH

    Central NH New Member

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    I am in NH also. My only comment is I used to burn $900-1000 a year in cord wood. I now burn 900-1000 in pellets who cares about amount it costs the same. BUT no back ache, no dirty mess, no house full of dust, no cleaning the chimney every month, no rushing home to fill stove after 8-10 hrs, no flex in heat stays about the same temp. all the time. To me the savings in time handling wood and rushing home to make sure stove doesn't go out is worth $200 a year to me since I take at least 8 hrs in the spring to stack wood.

    ducker likes this.

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