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Institute of

WF Forestry


What is the added value of fuelwood consumption?

Analysis of the economic aspects of the use of wood as an energy source

Driven by the Renewable Energies Act as well as increasing prizes for fossil fuels fuelwood consumption did increase considerably in the last decade in Germany . By now, competition for wood between forest industries and fuelwood users is severe. Which option is more economical? What is the value added of fuelwood consumption in Germany?

Background and Objective

Due to the severe competition for wood prizes increased considerably. Forest industries, especially wood panel industry, faced supply shortfall and economic problems. To solve their problems forest industries claimed a cascading use of wood because from an economic point of view, the higher added value of producing forest products compared to burning wood directly after harvesting is more favourable. This seems to be resonable. However, until now there was no information publicly available about the gross value added of fuelwood consumption in Germany. This study fills the gap.


At present statistics of fuelwood consumption are unsufficiently detailed. This is unsatisfactory because that is why an analysis of the wood energy sector is yet impossible. Hence, we analyse selected fuelwood supply chains covering all steps from foerst production to combustion. For each of the supply chains we calculate the added value related to one cubicmeter of raw wood used. This is an unusual approach but intentionally chosen since forest industries as well as politics argues with the value added made per cubicmeter in order to illustrate the excellence of material use of wood.

Data and Methods

To ensure a high degree of representativeness we cover the most important fuelwood products and the respective combustion technologies. We do this for the year 2005. However, if necessary, we use data from other years.


For the first time estimates of added value of fuelwood consumption in Germany are publicly available. The  estimates are related to one cubicmeter raw wood used and represent the most imporant supply chains. Only the value added of black liquor is not quantified. A comparison shows that the value added made with the use of fuelwood deviates depending on the product and combustion technology. The average value added per cubicmeter raw wood used is around 50 €. Split wood combusted in domestic households as well as wood chips combusted in combined heat and power plants realize a value added of roughly 70 € per cubicmeter raw wood used. Wood chips combusted in heating plants, however, realize a value added of only 34 € per cubicmeter raw wood used. It is important to mention that it is impossible to estimate the totoal value added of fuelwood use in Germany based on this study.


Dr. Jörg Schweinle

+49 40 739 62 305
+49 40 739 62 305

Funding Body

  • Federal Ministry of Food und Agriculture (BMEL)
    (national, öffentlich)


1.2000 - 3.2013

More Information

Project status: finished

List of Publications

  1. 0

    Schweinle J (2012) Wertschöpfungsanalyse der energetischen Nutzung von Holz. Hamburg: vTI, 34 p, Arbeitsber Inst Ökon Forst Holzwirtsch vTI 2012/02

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