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High and Low Heat Values

The gross (high) and net (low) heating values.

The heat value is

  • the amount of heat produced by combustion a unit quantity of a fuel

We differentiate between gross and net heating values:

Gross (or high, upper) Heating Value

The gross or high heating value is the amount of heat produced by the complete combustion of a unit quantity of fuel.

The gross heating value is obtained when

  • all products of the combustion are cooled down to the temperature before the combustion
  • the water vapor formed during combustion is condensed

In thermodynamics, the term standard heat of combustion corresponds to Gross heating value. See Heat of combustion for examples of calculation of gross heating values from standard heat of formation of substances.

Net (or lower) Heating Value

The net or lower heating value is obtained by

  • subtracting the latent heat of vaporization of the water vapor formed by the combustion

from the gross or higher heating value.

Common Units

Common units for heating value:

  • 1 Btu/lb = 2326.1 J/kg = 0.55556 kcal/kg
  • 1 J/kg = 0.00043 Btu/lb = 2.39x10-4 kcal/kg
  • 1 kcal/kg = 1.80 Btu/lb = 4187 J/kg

Related Topics

  • Combustion

    Combustion processes and their efficiency. Boiler house and chimney topics. Properties of fuels like oil, gas, coal and wood and more. Safety valves and tanks.
  • Thermodynamics

    Work, heat and energy systems.

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