The substitution of fossil fuels and fossil-based products with biofuels and biomass-based products is indispensable for a sustainable society and a green environment. The liquefaction of biomass to produce biofuels under sub- and/or super-critical water conditions is one of the most promising methods that might allow this substitution. Here, for the first time, we report the results of the liquefaction of woody biomass under sub-critical water conditions at 250, 300, and 350 A degrees C using potassium tert-butoxide (t-BuOK) as a catalyst. To compare and evaluate the catalytic performance of t-BuOK, the experiments were also performed under identical conditions using KOH as the catalyst. The product distributions obtained using either KOH or t-BuOK as the catalyst were very similar. The total oil yields increased and the solid residue yields decreased when either KOH or t-BuOK were used at reaction temperatures of 300 and 350 A degrees C. The total bio-oil yields obtained at 300 A degrees C with t-BuOK and KOH were 41.9 weight (%) and 43.0 weight (%), respectively, whereas the total bio-oil yield from the thermal run at 300 A degrees C was approximately 24.0 weight (%). Although the O/C ratio of the raw material is 0.70, the O/C ratios of the light and heavy bio-oils obtained from the KOH catalytic run are 0.38 and 0.25, respectively. In addition, the O/C ratios for the light and heavy oils obtained from the t-BuOK catalyst are 0.41 and 0.26, respectively. We estimate that the heating values of the light and heavy bio-oils obtained by either catalytic run (t-BuOK or KOH) are approximately 24 MJ kg(-1) and 29 MJ kg(-1), respectively.