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.


:Energy density
:Specific energy
:Energy released during combustion


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
Diesel Fuel830-44.8-37,184
Coal (Anthracite)1350-27-36,450
Coal (Lignite)801-15-12,015


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


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

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