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Wood Stoves and Firewood
BioBrick Heat Content vs Firewood
< Wood Stoves - Firewood                     
What got my attention was the 21% figure they offered as the typical
moisture content of cordwood. Any homeowner heating with wood knows
that firewood isn't considered seasoned unless the moisture content is 15%
or less.

Maybe the 6 points separating the two examples doesn't sound like much,
but wood with 21% moisture content is actually 40% wetter than the 15%
variety.

I don't think the BioBrick people were trying to intentionally mislead
consumers. It just sounds better from a marketing stand point to say one
pallet of BioBricks delivers the same amount of heat as cordwood with 21%
moisture content rather than a pallet of BioBricks delivers 94% of the heat of
properly seasoned cordwood.

But what happens when you compare the heat output of BioBricks with well
seasoned, 12% moisture cordwood?

For comparison purposes I'm going to use the B
TU heat numbers from a
table of
Firewood Heat and Weight Values put together by the California
Energy Commission. The table lists the weight and B
TU values of 39 types of
firewood at 12% moisture content.

However, a cord of firewood rarely consists of only one species which makes
it difficult to accurately determine the B
TU value. In order to even things out,
I'll compare the heat value of BioBricks to Ash. Ash is a middle of the road
hardwood and, heat wise, is halfway between Live Oak and Western Red
Cedar.

The heat value for a cord of 12% moisture Ash is 25 million B
TUs at an
average weight of 3,000 pounds. This works out to 8,333 Btu's per pound.

The manufacture
r's heat estimate for one, two pound BioBrick is 17,000
B
TUs, or 8,500 BTUs per pound – almost identical to Ash. (By the way, I
picked Ash first and ran the numbers, not the other way around).

Although my methods are hardly scientific, I think it would be fair to say the
heat output of BioBricks closely approximates that of most firewood.
While reading the
homepage of the
BioBrick
website, I noticed an
interesting statistic used to
describe the heat content
of BioBricks.

Here's the heat claim
quoted from their website:

"One pallet of our
BioBricks(TM) brings as
much heat into your house
as one cord of wood*."

*(typical cordwood
moisture content of 21%)