Summary

Specific energy and energy density are useful measures of the energy that will be released from a given weight or volume of fuel when it is burned. This article provides a quick reference for common values of specific energy and energy density.

Definitions

:Energy density
:Specific energy
:Energy released during combustion
:Volume
:Volume

Introduction

The Heat of Combustion of a product measures the energy released when that substance is burned in air, this information is often presented in units of .

The specific energy and energy density of a fuel provide practical measures of the energy content of a fuel in units more commonly used in the storage and handling of these substances (energy per weight and volume).

Specific Energy

Specific energy is the energy per unit mass of a fuel.

Energy Density

Energy density is the energy per unit volume of a fuel.



Typical Values of Specific Energy and Energy Density

The Specific Energy and Energy Density of some common fuels and combustible compounds are given below. Note the values are negative as they represent the energy lost from the substance as it burns. The surrounding environment will gain this amount of energy.

Common Fuels

FuelDensity
Specific Energy
Energy Density
Gasoline716-47.3-33,867
Kerosene830-46.2-38,346
Diesel Fuel830-44.8-37,184
Ethanol784-29.7-23,278
Coal (Anthracite)1350-27-36,450
Methanol787-22.7-17,855
Wood600-15-9,000
Coal (Lignite)801-15-12,015

Alkanes

FuelDensity
Specific Energy
Energy Density
Methane (CH4)423-55.6-23,529
Ethane (C2H6)545-51.8-28,246
Propane (C3H8)585-50.3-29,449
Butane (C4H10)601-49.5-29,729
Pentane (C5H12)621-48.7-30,223
Hexane (C6H14)655-48.3-31,633
Heptane (C7H16)680-48.1-32,690
Octane (C8H16)698-47.9-33,433
Nonane (C9H16)714-47.7-34,086
Decane (C10H18)726-47.6-34,581
Undecane (C11H20)737-47.5-35,039
Dodecane (C12H22)745-47.5-35,378
Hexadecane (CH3(CH2)14CH3)770-47.3-36,388

Alcohols

FuelDensity
Specific Energy
Energy Density
Methanol (CH3OH)787-22.7-17,855
Ethanol (CH3CH2OH)785-29.7-23,278
1-Propanol (CH3(CH2)2OH)800-33.6-26,902
2-Propanol (CH3CH(OH)CH3)781-33.4-26,068
1-Butanol (CH3(CH2)3OH)806-36.1-29,107
1-Pentanol (CH3(CH2)4OH)816-37.8-30,817
1-Hexanol (CH3(CH2)5OH)814-39-31,732
1-Heptanol (CH3(CH2)6OH)822-39.9-32,809
1-Octanol (CH3(CH2)7OH)825-40.7-33,545