Orders of magnitude (power)

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A thermal power plant transforms thermal energy into electric energy

This page lists examples of the power in watts produced by various sources of energy. They are grouped by orders of magnitude, and each section covers three orders of magnitude, or a factor of one thousand.

Below 1 watt[edit]

yoctowatt (10−24 watt)[edit]

zeptowatt (10−21 watt)[edit]

attowatt (10−18 watt)[edit]

  • 1 aW – phys: approximate power scale at which operation of nanoelectromechanical systems are overwhelmed by thermal fluctuations.[1]
  • 100 aW – tech: the GPS signal strength measured at the surface of the Earth,[clarification needed] roughly equivalent to viewing a 25-watt light bulb from a distance of 10,000 miles.[2]

femtowatt (10−15 watt)[edit]

  • 2.5 fW – tech: minimum discernible signal at the antenna terminal of a good FM radio receiver
  • 10 fW (−110 dBm) – tech: approximate lower limit of power reception on digital spread-spectrum cell phones

picowatt (10−12 watt)[edit]

  • 1 pW (−90 dBm) – biomed: average power consumption of a human cell
  • 18.4 pW – phys: power lost in the form of synchrotron radiation by a proton revolving in the Large Hadron Collider at 7000 GeV[3]
  • 150 pW – biomed: power entering a human eye from a 100-watt lamp 1 km away

nanowatt (10−9 watt)[edit]

  • 2–15 nW – tech: power consumption of 8-bit PIC microcontroller chips when in "sleep" mode

microwatt (10−6 watt)[edit]

milliwatt (10−3 watt)[edit]

  • 5 mW – tech: laser in a CD-ROM drive
  • 5–10 mW – tech: laser in a DVD player
  • 70 mW – tech: antenna power in a typical consumer wireless router
  • 500 mW - tech: maximum allowed carrier output power of an FRS radio

Between 1 and 1000 watts[edit]

watt[edit]

  • 2 W – tech: maximum allowed carrier power output of a MURS radio
  • 4 W – tech: the power consumption of an incandescent night light
  • 4 W – tech: maximum allowed carrier power output of a 10-meter CB radio
  • 8 W – tech: human-powered equipment using a hand crank.[4]
  • 14 W – tech: the power consumption of a typical household compact fluorescent light bulb
  • 20–40 W – biomed: approximate power consumption of the human brain[5]
  • 30–40 W – tech: the power consumption of a typical household fluorescent tube light
  • 60 W – tech: the power consumption of a typical household incandescent light bulb
  • 100 W – biomed: approximate basal metabolic rate of an adult human body[6]
  • 120 W – tech: electric power output of 1 m2 solar panel in full sunlight (approx. 12% efficiency), at sea level
  • 130 W – tech: peak power consumption of a Pentium 4 CPU
  • 200 W – tech: stationary bicycle average power output[7][8]
  • 290 W – units: approximately 1000 BTU/hour
  • 300–400 W – tech: PC GPU Nvidia Geforce Fermi 480 peak power consumption[9]
  • 400 W – tech: legal limit of power output of an amateur radio station in the United Kingdom
  • 500 W – biomed: power output (useful work plus heat) of a person working hard physically
  • 745.7 W – units: 1 horsepower
  • 750 W – astro: approximately the amount of sunshine falling on a square metre of the Earth's surface at noon on a clear day in March for northern temperate latitudes
  • 909 W – biomed: peak output power of a healthy human (nonathlete) during a 30-second cycle sprint at 30.1 degree Celsius.[10]

Above 1000 watts[edit]

kilowatt (103 watts)[edit]

  • 1 kW to 3 kW – tech: heat output of a domestic electric kettle
  • 1.1 kW – tech: power of a microwave oven
  • 1.366 kW – astro: power per square metre received from the Sun at the Earth's orbit
  • 1.5 kW – tech: legal limit of power output of an amateur radio station in the United States
  • up to 2 kW – biomed: approximate short-time power output of sprinting professional cyclists and weightlifters doing snatch
  • 2.4 kW (21,283 kWh/year) – geo: average power consumption per person worldwide in 2008[11]
  • 3.3–6.6 kW – eco: average photosynthetic power output per square kilometer of ocean[12]
  • 3.6 kW – tech: synchrotron radiation power lost per ring in the Large Hadron Collider at 7000 GeV[3]
  • 10 kW to 50 kW – tech: nominal power of clear channel AM[13]
  • 10.0 kW (87,216 kWh/year) – eco: average power consumption per person in the United States in 2008[11]
  • 16–32 kW – eco: average photosynthetic power output per square kilometer of land[12]
  • 30 kW – tech: power generated by the four motors of GEN H-4 one-man helicopter
  • 40 kW to 200 kW – tech: approximate range of power output of typical automobiles
  • 50 kW to 100 kW – tech: highest allowed ERP for an FM band radio station in the United States[14]
  • 167 kW – tech: power consumption of UNIVAC 1 computer
  • 250 kW to 800 kW – tech: approximate range of power output of 'supercars'
  • 450 kW – tech: approximate maximum power output of a large 18-wheeler truck engine

megawatt (106 watts)[edit]

  • 1.3 MW – tech: power output of P-51 Mustang fighter aircraft
  • 1.5 MW – tech: peak power output of GE's standard wind turbine
  • 2.4 MW – tech: peak power output of a Princess Coronation class steam locomotive (approx 3.3K EDHP on test) (1937)
  • 2.5 MW – biomed: peak power output of a blue whale
  • 3 MW – tech: mechanical power output of a diesel locomotive
  • 10 MW – tech: highest ERP allowed for an UHF television station
  • 10.3 MW – geo: electrical power output of Togo
  • 12.2 MW – tech: approx power available to a Eurostar 20-carriage train
  • 16 MW – tech: rate at which a typical gasoline pump transfers chemical energy to a vehicle
  • 17 to 80 MW – tech: approximate maximum power output of a Nd:YAG laser used in Particle Image Velocimetry (100 mJ over 6 ns to 400 mJ over 5 ns, both at 532 nm)
  • 26 MW – tech: peak power output of the reactor of a Los Angeles-class nuclear submarine
  • 75 MW – tech: maximum power output of one GE90 jet engine as installed on the Boeing 777
  • 140 MW – tech: average power consumption of a Boeing 747 passenger aircraft
  • 190 MW – tech: peak power output of a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier
  • 900 MW – tech: electric power output of a CANDU nuclear reactor
  • 959 MW – geo: average electrical power consumption of Zimbabwe in 1998

The productive capacity of electrical generators operated by utility companies is often measured in MW. Few things can sustain the transfer or consumption of energy on this scale; some of these events or entities include: lightning strikes, naval craft (such as aircraft carriers and submarines), engineering hardware, and some scientific research equipment (such as supercolliders and large lasers).

For reference, about 10,000 100-watt lightbulbs or 5,000 computer systems would be needed to draw 1 MW. Also, 1 MW equals approximately 1360 horsepower. Modern high-powered diesel-electric railroad locomotives typically have a peak power output of 3–5 MW, whereas a typical modern nuclear power plant produces on the order of 500–2000 MW peak output.

gigawatt (109 watts)[edit]

terawatt (1012 watts)[edit]

  • 2 TW – astro: approximate power generated between the surfaces of Jupiter and its moon Io due to Jupiter's tremendous magnetic field.[20]
  • 3.34 TW – geo: average total (gas, electricity, etc.) power consumption of the US in 2005[21]
  • 16 TW – geo: average total power consumption of the human world in 2010
  • 44 TW – geo: average total heat flux from Earth's interior[22]
  • 75 TW – eco: global net primary production (= biomass production) via photosynthesis[citation needed]
  • 50 to 200 TW – weather: rate of heat energy release by a hurricane
  • 290 TW – tech: the power the Z machine reaches in 1 billionth of a second when it is fired
  • 300 TW – tech: power reached by the extremely high-power Hercules laser from the University of Michigan.

petawatt (1015 watts)[edit]

  • 1.1 PW – tech: world's most powerful laser pulses by laser still in operation (claimed on March 31, 2008 by Texas Center for High Intensity Laser Science at The University of Texas at Austin).
  • ~4 X 1.00 PW – tech: Omage EP laser power at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics. There are four separate beams that are combined.
  • 1.25 PW – tech: world's most powerful laser pulses (claimed on May 23, 1996 by Lawrence Livermore Laboratory).
  • 1.4 PW – geo: estimated heat flux transported by the Gulf Stream.
  • 4 PW – geo: estimated total heat flux transported by Earth's atmosphere and oceans away from the equator towards the poles.
  • 10–100 PW geo: estimated total power output of a Type-I civilization on the Kardashev scale.
  • 174.0 PW – astro: total power received by Earth from the Sun
  • 200 PW – tech: Extreme Light Infrastructure laser[23]

exawatt (1018 watts)[edit]

zettawatt (1021 watts)[edit]

yottawatt (1024 watts)[edit]

  • 33.8 YW – tech: peak power output of the Tsar Bomba, the largest nuclear weapon ever built.[24]
  • 10-100 YW – geo: estimated total power output of a Type-II civilization on the Kardashev scale.
  • 384.6 YW – astro: luminosity of the Sun

Greater than one thousand yottawatts[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Nanoelectromechanical systems face the future". Physics World. February 1, 2001. 
  2. ^ article was originally published as Los Alamos research paper LAUR-03-6163. December 2003. 
  3. ^ a b CERN. Beam Parameters and Definitions". Table 2.2. Retrieved September 13, 2008
  4. ^ dtic.mil - harvesting energy with hand-crank generators to support dismounted soldier missions, 2004-12-xx
  5. ^ http://hypertextbook.com/facts/2001/JacquelineLing.shtml
  6. ^ http://www.gearypacific.com/ComfortZone/14%20The%20People%20Load.pdf[dead link]
  7. ^ alternative-energy-news.info - The Pedal-A-Watt Stationary Bicycle Generator, January 11, 2010
  8. ^ econvergence.net - The Pedal-A-Watt Bicycle Generator Stand Buy one or build with detailed plans., 2012
  9. ^ "GeForce GTX 480 Tortured by FurMark: 300W and Earplugs Required!". Geeks3D.com. March 28, 2010. Retrieved August 9, 2010. 
  10. ^ Ball, D; Burrows C, Sargeant AJ (March 1999). "Human power output during repeated sprint cycle exercise: the influence of thermal stress.". Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol. 79 (4): 360–6. PMID 10090637. 
  11. ^ a b World energy consumption
  12. ^ a b http://www.fao.org/docrep/w7241e/w7241e05.htm
  13. ^ http://www.fcc.gov/mb/audio/amclasses.html
  14. ^ http://www.fcc.gov/mb/audio/fmclasses.html
  15. ^ http://www.controleng.com/blog/820000282/post/1100035510.html
  16. ^ http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/Japan/Electricity.html
  17. ^ http://hypertextbook.com/facts/2001/StaverieBoundouris.shtml
  18. ^ National Grid electricity consumption statistics
  19. ^ World Wind Energy Association Statistics (PDF).
  20. ^ [1] – Nasa: Listening to shortwave radio signals from Jupiter
  21. ^ U.S energy consumption by source, 1949–2005, Energy Information Administration accessed May 25, 2007
  22. ^ Dumé, Belle (July 27, 2005). "Geoneutrinos make their debut". Physics World. "Figure 1 Radiogenic heat in the Earth" 
  23. ^ http://www.extreme-light-infrastructure.eu/index.php
  24. ^ http://prezi.com/h0cxhu__7y7f/robert-oppenheimer-czar-bomb/ Tsar Bomba's 33.8 YW estimate by J. Robert Oppenheimer