Dan the way I look on energy is that it is a constant, energy can only be changed in to something else (heat, gases, electricity, solids, radiation and so on).
If I take 1cm3 (one cubic meter) of wood and burn it in the most sopisticated oven ever made and compare it to 1cm3 of the exact same wood and gasify it in the CHP I intend to build, it would all come down to where you lose your energy.
As long as my exhaust gases to the environment is the same it would all depend on where you direct the energy.
I like the idea of storing heat in a big solid, the one in front of me just now how ever is not the best in the world, the burn is 75% at best and if I burn it hard I cant breathe in here.
You would like to distribuate the energy to where you need it when you need it with as little loss as possible.
To chunk the branches just takes too long for me when I dont have a chipper, its just time wasted when I can make lumber or high grade firewood instead.
I also have a problem with what to do with the leftovers when I make materials on the band saw
Norway spruce has a too low burn value to put it in the oven compared to barch and ash
But if I had a relatively low budget chipper like this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BRvWdbV1UDQ
I can process for sale the firewood over 8 inch and burn the rest for my self, included the bandsaw scraps and branches that I dont use now.