|In SI base units||kg·m−1s−2|
|U = E/V|
Energy density is the amount of energy stored in a given system or region of space per unit volume. Colloquially it may also be used for energy per unit mass, though the accurate term for this is specific energy. Often only the useful or extractable energy is measured, which is to say that inaccessible energy (such as rest mass energy) is ignored. In cosmological and other general relativistic contexts, however, the energy densities considered are those that correspond to the elements of the stress–energy tensor and therefore do include mass energy as well as energy densities associated with the pressures described in the next paragraph.
Energy per unit volume has the same physical units as pressure, and in many circumstances is a synonym: for example, the energy density of a magnetic field may be expressed as (and behaves as) a physical pressure, and the energy required to compress a compressed gas a little more may be determined by multiplying the difference between the gas pressure and the external pressure by the change in volume. In short, pressure is a measure of the enthalpy per unit volume of a system. A pressure gradient has the potential to perform work on the surroundings by converting enthalpy to work until equilibrium is reached.
- 1 Introduction to energy density
- 2 Energy density in energy storage and in fuel
- 3 Energy density of electric and magnetic fields
- 4 See also
- 5 Footnotes
- 6 External links
Introduction to energy density
There are many different types of energy stored in materials, and it takes a particular type of reaction to release each type of energy. In order of the typical magnitude of the energy released, these types of reactions are: nuclear, chemical, electrochemical, and electrical.
Nuclear reactions are used by stars and nuclear power plants, both of which derive energy from the binding energy of nuclei. Chemical reactions are used by animals to derive energy from food, and by automobiles to derive energy from gasoline. Electrochemical reactions are used by most mobile devices such as laptop computers and mobile phones to release the energy from batteries.
Energy densities of common energy storage materials
The following is a list of the thermal energy densities of commonly used or well-known energy storage materials; it doesn't include uncommon or experimental materials. Note that this list does not consider the mass of reactants commonly available such as the oxygen required for combustion or the energy efficiency in use. An extended version of this table is found at Energy density Extended Reference Table.
|Storage material||Energy type||Specific energy
|Deuterium-Helium-3 (in Fusion reactor)||Nuclear fusion||384,000,000||3,940,000||107,000,000,000||1,100,000,000|
|Deuterium (in Fusion reactor)||Nuclear fusion||87,900,000||3,930,000||24,600,000,000||1,100,000,000|
|Deuterium-Tritium (in Fusion reactor)||Nuclear fusion||340,000,000||3,790,000||94,000,000,000||1,060,000,000|
|Uranium (in breeder)||Nuclear fission||80,620,000||1,539,842,000||22,393,817,400||427,734,231,076|
|Thorium (in breeder)||Nuclear fission||79,420,000||929,214,000||22,060,493,400||258,115,206,492|
|Plutonium 238||Nuclear decay||2,239,000||43,277,631||621,927,030||12,021,564,200|
|Hydrogen (compressed at 700 bar)||Chemical||142||9.17||39,443||1,555|
|Methane or natural gas||Chemical||55.5||0.0364||15,416||10|
|Liquefied natural gas (LNG)||Chemical||53.6||22.2||14,889||6,167|
|Heavy fuel oil (HFO)||Chemical||41||11,389|
|LPG (including Propane / Butane)||Chemical||46.4||26||12,889||7,222|
|Jet fuel (Kerosene)||Chemical||42.8 ||37.4||11,889||10,389|
|Dimethyl ether (DME)||Chemical||28.8||19.3||8,000||5,361|
|Ethanol fuel (E100)||Chemical||26.4||20.9||7,333||5,806|
|Coal, anthracite||Chemical||26-33||34-43||7,222 – 9,166||9,444-11,944|
|Coal, bituminous||Chemical||24-35||26-49||6,667 – 9,722||7,222-13,611|
|Methanol fuel (M100)||Chemical||19.7||15.6||5,472||4,333|
|Carbohydrates (including sugars)||Chemical||17||4,722|
|Lithium metal battery
(rechargeable version in development)
|Lithium-ion battery||Electrochemical||0.36–0.875||0.9–2.63||100 – 243||250-731|
|Flywheel||Mechanical||.36 – .5||100 – 130|
|Nickel-metal hydride battery||Electrochemical||0.288||0.504–1.08||80||140-300|
|Supercapacitor (EDLC)||Electrical (electrostatic)||0.01-0.036||0.05-0.06||3 – 10||14-17|
|Electrostatic capacitor||Electrical (electrostatic)||0.00001-0.0002||0.00001-0.001||2.7×10−3 – 55.5×10−3||0.0027-0.277|
|Storage device||Energy type||Rechargeable / Non Rechargeable||Typical mass
|D X L
(diameter x Length in mm)
|Alkaline AAA battery||Electrochemical||Non Rechargeable||12||5,076||423,000||1.41||117.5||10.5 × 44.5|
|Alkaline AA battery||Electrochemical||Non Rechargeable||24||9,360||390,000||2.60||108.3||14.2 × 50|
|Alkaline C battery||Electrochemical||Non Rechargeable||65||34,416||529,477||9.56||147||26 × 46|
|Alkaline D battery||Electrochemical||Non Rechargeable||135||74,988||555,467||20.83||154.3||33 × 58|
|NiMH AAA battery||Electrochemical||Rechargeable||12||3,456||288,000.0||0.96||80.0||10.5 × 44.5|
|NiMH AA battery||Electrochemical||Rechargeable||26||9,072||348,923.1||2.52||96.9||14.2 × 50|
|NiMH C battery||Electrochemical||Rechargeable||82||19,440||237,073.2||5.4||65.9||26 × 46|
|NiMH D battery||Electrochemical||Rechargeable||170||41,040||241,411.8||11.4||67.1||33 × 58|
|Lithium-ion 18650 battery||Electrochemical||Rechargeable||44 – 49||28,800 – 46,800||654,545.5 – 955,102||8 – 13||181.8 – 265.3||18 x 65|
|Lithium-ion 26650 battery||Electrochemical||Rechargeable||95 – 100||50,400 – 64,800||530,526.3 – 648,000||14 – 19||147.4 – 190.0||26 x 65|
Energy density in energy storage and in fuel
In energy storage applications the energy density relates the mass of an energy store to the volume of the storage facility, e.g. the fuel tank. The higher the energy density of the fuel, the more energy may be stored or transported for the same amount of volume. The energy density of a fuel per unit mass is called the specific energy of that fuel. In general an engine using that fuel will generate less kinetic energy due to inefficiencies and thermodynamic considerations—hence the specific fuel consumption of an engine will always be greater than its rate of production of the kinetic energy of motion.
The greatest energy source by far is mass itself. This energy, E = mc2, where m = ρV, ρ is the mass per unit volume, V is the volume of the mass itself and c is the speed of light. This energy, however, can be released only by the processes of nuclear fission (.1%), nuclear fusion (1%), or the annihilation of some or all of the matter in the volume V by matter-antimatter collisions (100%). Nuclear reactions cannot be realized by chemical reactions such as combustion. Although greater matter densities can be achieved, the density of a neutron star would approximate the most dense system capable of matter-antimatter annihilation possible. A black hole, although denser than a neutron star, does not have an equivalent anti-particle form, but would offer the same 100% conversion rate of mass to energy in the form of Hawking radiation. In the case of relatively small black holes (smaller than astronomical objects) the power output would be tremendous.
The highest density sources of energy aside from antimatter are fusion and fission. Fusion includes energy from the sun which will be available for billions of years (in the form of sunlight) but so far (2016), sustained fusion power production continues to be elusive. Power from fission of uranium and thorium in nuclear power plants will be available for many decades or even centuries because of the plentiful supply of the elements on earth, though the full potential of this source can only be realised through breeder reactors, which are, apart from the BN-600 reactor, not yet used commercially. Coal, gas, and petroleum are the current primary energy sources in the U.S. but have a much lower energy density. Burning local biomass fuels supplies household energy needs (cooking fires, oil lamps, etc.) worldwide.
Energy density (how much energy you can carry) does not tell you about energy conversion efficiency (net output per input) or embodied energy (what the energy output costs to provide, as harvesting, refining, distributing, and dealing with pollution all use energy). Like any process occurring on a large scale, intensive energy use impacts the world. For example, climate change, nuclear waste storage, and deforestation may be some of the consequences of supplying our growing energy demands from hydrocarbon fuels, nuclear fission, or biomass.
No single energy storage method boasts the best in specific power, specific energy, and energy density. Peukert's Law describes how the amount of useful energy that can be obtained (for a lead-acid cell) depends on how quickly we pull it out. To maximize both specific energy and energy density, one can compute the specific energy density of a substance by multiplying the two values together, where the higher the number, the better the substance is at storing energy efficiently.
- Note: Some values may not be precise because of isomers or other irregularities. See Heating value for a comprehensive table of specific energies of important fuels.
- Note: Also it is important to realise that generally the density values for chemical fuels do not include the weight of oxygen required for combustion. This is typically two oxygen atoms per carbon atom, and one per two hydrogen atoms. The atomic weight of carbon and oxygen are similar, while hydrogen is much lighter than oxygen. Figures are presented this way for those fuels where in practice air would only be drawn in locally to the burner. This explains the apparently lower energy density of materials that already include their own oxidiser (such as gunpowder and TNT), where the mass of the oxidiser in effect adds dead weight, and absorbs some of the energy of combustion to dissociate and liberate oxygen to continue the reaction. This also explains some apparent anomalies, such as the energy density of a sandwich appearing to be higher than that of a stick of dynamite.
This section may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards. (October 2008) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Energy densities ignoring external components
This table lists energy densities of systems that require external components, such as oxidisers or a heat sink or source. These figures do not take into account the mass and volume of the required components as they are assumed to be freely available and present in the atmosphere. Such systems cannot be compared with self-contained systems. These values may not be computed at the same reference conditions.
|Storage type||Specific energy
|Peak recovery efficiency %||Practical recovery efficiency %|
|Antimatter||×1010 = c²9||Dependent on the density of the antimatter's form.||100|
|Plutonium-239||83,610||Depends on crystallographic phase||719,000||Depends on crystallographic phase|
|Hydrogen, at 690 bar and 15°C||141.86||4.5||39,405.6||1,250.0|
|Methane (1.013 bar, 15 °C)||55.6||0.0378||15,444.5||10.5|
|LNG (NG at −160 °C)||53.6||22.2||14,888.9||6,166.7|
|CNG (NG compressed to 250 bar/~3,600 psi)||53.6||9||14,888.9||2,500.0|
|Crude oil (according to the definition of ton of oil equivalent)||46.3||37||12,861.1||10,277.8|
|Residential heating oil||46.2||37.3||12,833.3||10,361.1|
|Gasohol E10 (10% ethanol 90% gasoline by volume)||43.54||33.18||12,094.5||9,216.7|
|Jet A aviation fuel/kerosene||42.8||33||11,888.9||9,166.7|
|Biodiesel oil (vegetable oil)||42.20||33||11,722.2||9,166.7|
|DMF (2,5-dimethylfuran)[clarification needed]||42||37.8||11,666.7||10,500.0|
|Body fat metabolism||38||35||10,555.6||9,722.2||22|
|Gasohol E85 (85% ethanol 15% gasoline by volume)||33.1||25.65||9,194.5||7,125.0|
|Coal, anthracite||26 – 33||34 – 43||7,222.2 – 9,166.7||9444.5 – 11944.5||36|
|Coal, bituminous||24-35||26 – 49||6666.7 – 9722.2||7222.2 – 13611.1|
|PET plastic||23.5 (impure)||6,527.8|
|Hydrazine (toxic) combusted to N2+H2O||19.5||19.3||5,416.7||5,361.1|
|Liquid ammonia (combusted to N2+H2O)||18.6||11.5||5,166.7||3,194.5|
|PVC plastic (improper combustion toxic)[clarification needed]||18.0||25.2||5,000.0||7,000.0|
|Sugars, carbohydrates, and protein metabolism||17||26.2 (dextrose)||4,722.2||7,277.8||22|
|Dry cow dung and cameldung||15.5||4,305.6|
|Coal, lignite||10-20||2777.8 – 5555.6|
|Sodium (burned to wet sodium hydroxide)||13.3||12.8||3,694.5||3,555.6|
|Sulfur (burned to sulfur dioxide)||9.23||19.11||2,563.9||5,308.3|
|Sodium (burned to dry sodium oxide)||9.1||8.8||2,527.8||2,444.5|
|Battery, lithium-air rechargeable||9.0||2,500.0|
|Iron (burned to iron(III) oxide)||5.2||40.68||1,444.5||11,300.0|
|Teflon plastic (combustion toxic, but flame retardant)||5.1||11.2||1,416.7||3,111.1|
|Iron (burned to iron(II) oxide)||4.9||38.2||1,361.1||10,611.1|
|Liquid nitrogen[clarification needed]||0.77||0.62||213.9||172.2|
|Compressed air at 300 bar (potential energy)||0.5||0.2||138.9||55.6||>50%|
|Latent heat of fusion of ice (thermal)||0.335||0.335||93.1||93.1|
|Water at 100 m dam height (potential energy)||0.001||0.001||0.277||0.3||citation needed]85-90%[|
|Storage type||Energy density by mass (MJ/kg)||Energy density by volume (MJ/L)||Specific energy (Wh/kg)||Energy density (Wh/L)||Peak recovery efficiency %||Practical recovery efficiency %|
Energy density of electric and magnetic fields
where E is the electric field and B is the magnetic field. The solution will be in Joules per cubic metre. In the context of magnetohydrodynamics, the physics of conductive fluids, the magnetic energy density behaves like an additional pressure that adds to the gas pressure of a plasma.
In normal (linear and nondispersive) substances, the energy density (in SI units) is
- Energy density Extended Reference Table
- High Energy Density Matter
- Power density and specifically
- Orders of magnitude (specific energy)
- Figure of merit
- Energy content of biofuel
- Heat of combustion
- Heating value
- Rechargeable battery
- Specific impulse
- Food energy
- "The Two Classes of SI Units and the SI Prefixes". NIST Guide to the SI. Retrieved 2012-01-25.
- J. D. Huba. "NRL Plasma Formulary (revised 2016)" (PDF). Naval Research Laboratory. p. 44. Retrieved 2017-05-16.
- "Computing the energy density of nuclear fuel". whatisnuclear.com. Retrieved 2014-04-17.
- "DNV GL - Fuels and fuel conversion". August 2016.
- "F3 (Fossil Free Fuels) Centre - the Swedish Knowledge Centre for Renewable Transportation - Dimethyl Ether". October 2015.
- "Overview of lithium ion batteries" (PDF). Panasonic. Jan 2007. Archived (PDF) from the original on November 7, 2011.
- "Panasonic NCR18650B" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-07-22.
- "Energizer EN91 AA alkaline battery datasheet" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-01-10.
- "Maxwell supercapacitor comparison" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-01-10.
- "Nesscap ESHSP series supercapacitor datasheet" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-01-10.
- "Cooper PowerStor XL60 series supercapacitor datasheet" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-01-10.
- "Kemet S301 series supercapacitor datasheet" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-01-10.
- "Nichicon JJD series supercapatcitor datasheet" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-01-10.
- "skelcap High Energy Ultracapacitor" (PDF). Skeleton Technologies. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
- "Nesscap PSHLR series pseudocapacitor datasheet" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-01-10.
- "Vishay STE series tantalum capacitors datasheet" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-01-10.
- "nichicon TVX aluminum electrolytic capacitors datasheet" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-01-10.
- "nichicon LGU aluminum electrolytic capacitors datasheet" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-01-10.
- "Battery Energy Tables".
- "18650 Battery capacities".
- "26650 Battery Specifications".
- "Green Power Lacks the Energy Density to Run Our Civilization, LENR Might Provide It." LENR & Cold Fusion News. N.p., 24 July 2014. Web.
- Jeong, Goojin, et al. "Nanotechnology enabled rechargeable Li–SO 2 batteries: another approach towards post-lithium-ion battery systems." Energy & Environmental Science 8.11 (2015): 3173-3180.
- "Panasonic Develops New Higher-Capacity 18650 Li-Ion Cells." Green Car Congress. N.p., 25 Dec. 2009. Web.
- Stura, Enrico, and Claudio Nicolini. "New nanomaterials for light weight lithium batteries." Analytica chimica acta 568.1 (2006): 57-64.
- "Energy Density of Coal - Hypertextbook." The Energy Density of Coal. N.p., 2003. Web.
- "Heat Values of Various Fuels - World Nuclear Association." World Nuclear Association. N.p., Sept. 2016. Web.
- "Overview of Storage Development DOE Hydrogen Program." Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy. N.p., May 2000. Web.
- Wong, Kaufui Vincent and Dia, Sarah, “Nanotechnology in Batteries.” ASME J. Energy Resour. Technol. 2016.
- "Supply of Uranium". world-nuclear.org. 2014-10-08. Retrieved 2015-06-13.
- "Facts from Cohen". Formal.stanford.edu. 2007-01-26. Retrieved 2010-05-07.
- "U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) - Annual Energy Review". Eia.doe.gov. 2009-06-26. Archived from the original on 2010-05-06. Retrieved 2010-05-07.
- Ionescu-Zanetti, C.; et., al. (2005). "Nanogap capacitors: Sensitivity to sample permittivity changes". 99 (2). Bibcode:2006JAP....99b4305I. doi:10.1063/1.2161818.
- Naoi, K.; et., al. (2013). "New generation "nanohybrid supercapacitor"". Accounts of Chemical Research. doi:10.1021/ar200308h.
- Hubler, A.; Osuagwu, O. (2010). "Digital quantum batteries: Energy and information storage in nanovacuum tube arrays". Complexity. 15 (5). doi:10.1002/cplx.20306.
- Lyon, D.; et., al. (2013). "Gap size dependence of the dielectric strength in nano vacuum gaps". : IEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation. 2 (4). doi:10.1109/TDEI.2013.6571470.
- College of the Desert, “Module 1, Hydrogen Properties”, Revision 0, December 2001 Hydrogen Properties. Retrieved 2014-06-08.
- Greenwood, Norman N.; Earnshaw, Alan (1997), Chemistry of the Elements (2nd ed) (page 164)
- "Boron: A Better Energy Carrier than Hydrogen? (28 February 2009)". Eagle.ca. Retrieved 2010-05-07.
- Envestra Limited. Natural Gas. Retrieved 2008-10-05.
- IOR Energy. List of common conversion factors (Engineering conversion factors). Retrieved 2008-10-05.
- Paul A. Kittle, Ph.D. "ALTERNATE DAILY COVER MATERIALS AND SUBTITLE D - THE SELECTION TECHNIQUE" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-01-25.
- "537.PDF" (PDF). June 1993. Retrieved 2012-01-25.
- "Energy Density of Aviation Fuel". Hypertextbook.com. Retrieved 2010-05-07.
- Nature. "Production of dimethylfuran for liquid fuels from biomass-derived carbohydrates : Abstract". Nature. Retrieved 2010-05-07.
- Justin Lemire-Elmore (2004-04-13). "The Energy Cost of Electric and Human-Powered Bicycles" (PDF). p. 5. Retrieved 2009-02-26.
properly trained athlete will have efficiencies of 22 to 26%
- Fisher, Juliya (2003). "Energy Density of Coal". The Physics Factbook. Retrieved 2006-08-25.
- Silicon as an intermediary between renewable energy and hydrogen
- "Elite_bloc.indd" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-05-07.
- "Biomass Energy Foundation: Fuel Densities". Woodgas.com. Archived from the original on 2010-01-10. Retrieved 2010-05-07.
- "Bord na Mona, Peat for Energy" (PDF). Bnm.ie. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-11-19. Retrieved 2012-01-25.
- Justin Lemire-Elmor (April 13, 2004). "The Energy Cost of Electric and Human-Powered Bicycle" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-01-25.
- "energy buffers". Home.hccnet.nl. Retrieved 2010-05-07.
- Anne Wignall and Terry Wales. Chemistry 12 Workbook, page 138 Archived 2011-09-13 at the Wayback Machine.. Pearson Education NZ ISBN 978-0-582-54974-6
- Mitchell, Robert R.; Betar M. Gallant; Carl V. Thompson; Yang Shao-Horn (2011). "All-carbon-nanofiber electrodes for high-energy rechargeable Li–O2 batteries". Energy & Environmental Science. 4: 2952–2958. doi:10.1039/C1EE01496J.
- David E. Dirkse. energy buffers. "household waste 8..11 MJ/kg"
- "Technical bulletin on Zinc-air batteries". Duracell. Archived from the original on 2009-01-27. Retrieved 2009-04-21.
- C. Knowlen, A.T. Mattick, A.P. Bruckner and A. Hertzberg, "High Efficiency Conversion Systems for Liquid Nitrogen Automobiles", Society of Automotive Engineers Inc, 1988.
- ^ "Aircraft Fuels." Energy, Technology and the Environment Ed. Attilio Bisio. Vol. 1. New York: John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 1995. 257–259
- "Fuels of the Future for Cars and Trucks" - Dr. James J. Eberhardt - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, U.S. Department of Energy - 2002 Diesel Engine Emissions Reduction (DEER) Workshop San Diego, California - August 25–29, 2002
- The Inflationary Universe: The Quest for a New Theory of Cosmic Origins by Alan H. Guth (1998) ISBN 0-201-32840-2
- Cosmological Inflation and Large-Scale Structure by Andrew R. Liddle, David H. Lyth (2000) ISBN 0-521-57598-2
- Richard Becker, "Electromagnetic Fields and Interactions", Dover Publications Inc., 1964