Definitions This section contains the basic definitions of energy, power, efficiency, and load factor, together with

a listing of the most common units used.

Definition of energy A correct but probably useless definition of energy: Energy is the capacity to do work (doing work is to move something against a resisting force) Energy is involved where
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Objects move Heat is transported or transferred Electricity flows

The basic unit of energy is the joule: 1 J= 1 kg m2 s−2 This is usually used in 1 kJ= 1000 J; 1 MJ= 106 J; 1 GJ= 109 J and even higher powers. Other units often used are
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tonne of oil equivalent: 1 toe= 42 GJ or 1 Mtoe= 106 toe = 42 PJ= 42 ×106 J kilowatt-hour: 1 kWh= 3.60 MJ or 1 TWh= 3.60 PJ

Definition of power The definition of power is Power is the rate of doing work In other words, power is the rate at which energy is converted, 'consumed', or 'generated The basic unit of power is the watt: 1 W= 1 J/s= 1 kg m2 s-3 This is usually used in 1 kW= 1000 W; 1 MW= 106 W and higher powers.


The first Law of Thermodynamics states that Energy is conserved. This means that it is possible to convert energy from one form to another but it is not possible to create or destroy energy. From the first law we can also state the following consequence: Since power is the rate at which energy is converted, rate at which energy is consumed by somebody has to be the same at which it is provided by somebody else. In other words, the power generation has to match the power consumption. The Second Law of Thermodynamics A 'correct' statement of the Second Law of Thermodynamics is the Kelvin-Planck statement of it as: It is impossible for any device that operates on a cycle to receive heat from a single reservoir and produce a net amount of work. This can also be paraphrased as Whenever energy is converted from one form to another, heat is also generated or, we can never convert energy completely into motion or electricity but always produce some heat which is lost to the user.

Efficiency The fact that we can never get out the same amount of energy in the form of motion or electricity as we feed into an energy converting device leads to the concept of efficiency Efficiency is defined as the ratio of the useful output over the required input.
What you get compared to what you pay

The symbol usually used for the efficiency is η (lower case Greek eta). Because it is a ratio of two numbers with the same units, it is a dimensionless quantity. This ratio is always less than one (or equals one in the very best ideal world). It is often given in percentage rather than the ratio


For example
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The typical efficiency of a steam turbine is about 30% (η=0.3). The typical efficiency of a petrol engine is about 25% The typical efficiency of a hydropower turbine is about 85%.

Types of energy A list of different types of energy Heat
Q= m Cp ∆T (or m CV ∆T ) = mass ´ specific heat ´ temperature difference

Potential energy Kinetic energy Work

Ep= m g h = mass × gravitational acceleration × height.

Ek= 1/2 m v2 = half × mass × velocity squared.

W= F d = force × distance

Pressure work

Wp= p V= pressure × Volume

This is the same as applying on an area A a pressure force, F= pA, and moving it by a distance d. This will change the volume within the boundary by d A: W= F d= p A d = p V Electrical energy Radiation
Eel= V Q= volt × charge.

energy of a photon: h λ, with Planck's constant, h= 6.625× 10 − 34 J s, and the wavelength λ.

'Chemical' energy The heat released in a chemical reaction. This is specific to each reaction and is usually given as energy unit mass (e.g. kJ/kg) or number of molecules (e.g. kJ/mol) Atomic energy E= m c2 = mass × speed of light squared, with c= 3 × 108 m/s


A list of different types of power Heat flow rate
dQ/dt= dm/dt Cp ∆T = mass flow rate × specific heat × temperature difference dQ/dt= m CV dT/dt = mass × specific heat × rate of temperature change

Kinetic power

Pk= 1/2 ρ A v3 = half × density × cross-sectional area × velocity cubed.

This is the kinetic energy passing through an area A per unit time. Linear mechanical power
P= F v = force × velocity

This is the rate of change of work, where the rate of change of distance is the velocity. Rotational mechanical power
P= ω T = angular × torque

The linear and rotational power can be related by recognising that an object rotating at a distance R from the centre of rotation has a velocity of Rω, and that a force applied a distance R from the centre exerts a torque of T= FR. Hydraulic power
Ph= ρ g H Q = density × gravitational acceleration × height or 'head' × volume flow rate.

This is the flow of energy of a liquid under pressure, p, passing through at a flow rate, Q, if the pressure is given by the hydrostatic pressure, p = ρ g H. The rate of change of the volume measures how much volume passes through a measuring area: dV/dt= Q. It is also the rate of release of potential energy from a liquid flowing from a height H at a volume flow rate of Q. (take the rate of change of the mass: dm/dt= ρQ Electrical power
Eel= V I= volt × current.

Radiation of a black body
Eb= σT4

with the Stefan-Boltzmann constant σ = 5.67 ×10 − 8 W m−2 K4 and the absolute temperature (in Kelvin) Radiation of a grey body
Eg= ε σT4 with the emissivity ε (dimensionless)


Capacity factor and load factor
Capacity factor or availability factor the ratio of the energy output over a period to its maximum possible output. Load factor the ratio of the average load to peak load over a period. These two factors are two sides of the same thing. The load factor measures the proportion of power output required from a generator against what it could do, while the capacity factor measures the proportion of the energy provided by the generator against what it could do. Example A 70 MW turbine operating continuously would generate in a year 70 MW × 3600 sec/hr × 24 hr/day × 365 days/year= 2.2× 1015 J= 2.2 PJ. To convert to TWh or GWh: 2.2PJ= 2.2 PWs= 2200 TWs= 2200 TWh/3600= 0.61 TWh= 610 GWh.

In reality, no turbine can run at full load for ever. This is partly because the turbine requires maintenance, partly because the demand is not there (and the production has to be adjusted to meet the demand), and partly because the energy source is not available (e.g. the wind in a wind turbine) A typical availability factor for a well-maintained gas- or coal-fired power station can be as high as 80%, but a typical hydropower station may only have a capacity factor of about 40%. This can be explained by the fact that hyrdopower turbines can adjust their output extremely fast, while thermal plant take much longer to change their output. As a result, many thermal plants are operated to provide the relatively constant base load while hydropower stations are used to follow the varying demand. Following on the example of the 70MW turbine from above: If it has operated over the last year with a capacity factor of 60%, then its total output during that year was 60% of the 610GWh, i.e. 0.6*610GWh= 370 GWh. A typical wind turbine may have a capacity factor of about 30%. This number is not constrained by it responding to the demand but by it driven by a fluctuating wind. Even if the demand were always there, a 1MW wind turbine can never generate 1MW all the time all year round. So, for a wind turbine (and almost all renewable generators), the capacity factor is not limited by its most appropriate operating conditions under the varying load but it is limited by the variability ('intermittency') of the energy source.


Annual energy output from different turbines, all rated at 100 MW generator Ideal coal Hydro Wind C (%) 100 80 40 30 Annual output (TWh) 11.3 9.0 4.5 3.4

This leads to the definition of capacity credit, which measures how much a generator can replace a 'standard' thermal plant. Example: A wind farm of 30 2MW turbines has an installed capacity of 60 MW but because it only has a capacity factor of 30%, it can only replace about 20 MW installed capacity from traditional thermal power stations. The 60MW-wind farm has a capacity credit of 20MW.


Powers of Ten Powers of 10 and their names

power Symbol Prefix Name 103 106 10 10
9 12

k M G T P E


one thousand

mega- one million giga- one billion teraexaone trillion one quintillion peta- one quadrillion

1015 1018

To illustrate the different powers, and when they are used, a few examples are given:
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A person's daily food requirement is about 10 MJ or 3 kWh A household's daily energy consumption is about 200 MJ or 60 kWh A household's annual energy consumption is about 100 GJ or 30 MWh A 600MW power station generates about 1 PJ or 3 TWh in a year. The UK's annual primary energy consumption is about 10 EJ or 3 PWh The world's annual primary energy consumption is about 500 EJ or 150 PWh.


Conversion Tables Very small energy amounts kJ kcal 1 J 1 0.238 1 kcal 4.2 1

Small energy amounts GJ kWh 1 277.8 42 12,000 toe 0.024 1

1 GJ 1 toe

1 kWh 0.0036

1 8.6×10-5

Large energy amounts PJ EJ TWh Mtoe 1 0.001 0.2778 0.024 1000 1 277.8 24 3.6 0.0036 1 0.086 42 0.042 12 1

1 PJ 1 EJ 1 TWh 1 Mtoe

Conversion between Power and Energy assuming a constant power over time per hour 3.6 MJ 3.6 GJ 3.6 TJ 3.6 PJ per day 86.4 MJ 86.4 GJ 86.4 TJ 86.4 PJ per year 31.54 GJ 31.54 TJ 31.54 PJ 31.54 EJ per year per year 8760 kWh 0.75 toe 8.76 MWh 750 toe 8.76 GWh 0.75 Mtoe 8.76 TWh 750 Mtoe

1 kW 1 MW 1 GW 1 TW