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Energy Values and Conversion Factors

Comparing Energy Contents

What makes comparing different energy forms and energy gains somewhat challenging, is the wide variety of different units of measurement. Some energy forms are given in tonnes, some in loose cubic metres, stacked cubic metres or solid cubic metres, some in kilos and so on. Also moisture content greatly affects the energy gain.

At http://muunnin.com you will find counters (in Finnish) which can be used to convert between different units of measurement. For example, to convert kilowatts into megawatts, go to http://muunnin.com/teho/.

Fuel Oil as the Baseline

If we wish to compare renewable energy sources according to their energy content, the easiest way is to compare them with fossil fuels, and with the one that we are most familiar with: fuel oil. This way we can better understand the huge potential that bioenergy in its different forms has. Given in different units of measurement, fuel oil has approximately 10 kWh/litre or 11,8 kWh/kg or 42,7 MJ/kg.

In the table below, fuel oil’s energy contents is compared with those of wood chip, pellet, briquette, peat and oat.

FeatureChips from lopped poles        Wood pellet   Wood briquette

 Sod peat 

Oat             

Fuel oil     
Moisure content %25-308-108-1025-4014 
Bulk density (kg/m³ᶩ ͮ)250-320600-650600-650350-400520-5900,845
The energy density (kWh/m³ᶩ ͮ)700-9002 900-3 9002 900-3 4001 4002 200-2 50010 000 (kWh/m³)
Ash content0,5-2,00,50,54,0-6,05,0-7,0+/-0

Conversion Factors

A conversion factor is a ratio which is used to convert a measured quantity into a different unit.

 toeMWhGJGcal
toe111,63041,86810,0
MWh0,0859813,60,86
GJ0,023880,277810,2388
Gcal0,11,16304,18681

Typical Heat Values and Densities of Certain Fuels

FuelUnit of MeasurementGJMWhtoet/m3
(or  t/ m³ᶩͮ )
Crude oil
tonne41,86811,631,000,855
Heavy fuel oil
normal/low sulphur
tonne40,60/41,1011,278/11,4170,970/0,09820,955
Light fuel oiltonne42,5011,8061,0150,845
Diesel oil
tonne41,5011,5280,9910,845
Liquid oilstonne46,3012,8611,1060,580
Coaltonne25,2117,0030,6020,800
Coketonne29,308,1390,7000,750
Natural gas  (OoC)1 000 m³36,0010,000,8600,732
Blast furnace gas1 000 m³3,791,0530,091 
Coke oven gas1 000 m³16,704,6390,399 
Black liquorDT11,703,2500,2791,415
Birch chip (log)m³ˢᵗ5,401,500,1290,400
Mixed chip (log)
m³ˢᵗ4,511,250,1070,350
Fuel chip
m³ᶩ ͮ2,880,800,0690,300
Saw dust
m³ᶩ ͮ2,160,600,0520,300
Wood shavingsm³ᶩ ͮ1,800,500,0430,100
Conifer barkm³ᶩ ͮ2,160,600,0520,300
Birch barkm³ᶩ ͮ2,520,700,0600,350
Wood pellet
tonne16,924,700,4040,690
Sod peat
m³ᶩ ͮ5,041,400,1200,380
Milled peatm³ᶩ ͮ3,240,900,0770,320
Biogas
m³ gas14,4 – 28,84 - 80,344 – 0,688 

Source: Energy statistics (KTM) and VTT Energia.


REGATECENREGRENEXPOCEB
EUBCEBiofuels-2015Bioenergia 2015Agritechnica 2015RENEXPO BucharestACERC
Power & Energy Africa 2015 KenyaPower & Energy Africa 2015 in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania.RENEXPO® BiHtcbiomass2015: Technology for the Bioeconomy
http://kbh.my.gov.cn/http://www.filtechasia.com/en/index.asp
http://www.expogr.com/kenyaenergy/index.phphttp://www.renexpo-belgrade.com/index.php?id=7&L=1http://www.apbechina.com/index.php?lang=enhttp://www.silverindustry.cn/en/index.htm
http://expogr.com/ethiopia/powerenergy/index.phphttp://expogr.com/rwanda/powerenergy/index.phphttp://www.expogr.com/tanzania/powerenergy/index.phphttp://www.silverindustry.cn/en/index.htm
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