How is energy measured upon combustion?

By Energy Company Numbers on January 27, 2016 in Help and advice

The method that energy is measured is defined as calorific value.

The calorific value or CV is a measure of heating power. This measurement relies on the composition of gas. Calorific value is related to the energy that is released when a specific allotment of gas combusts. When combustion takes place the conditions that are in play must be known for the calorific value to be accurate.  This means that the type of gas needs to be known. Temperatures and pressures are also conditional factors that must be understood to yield a calorific value.

In this article, we will take a closer look at calorific value, explaining how energy is measured upon combustion. Let’s start with why calorific value is valuable:

Why is it valuable?

Measuring the calorific value of energy is important for a number of different reasons.

The calorific value of energy is something that plays a part in energy prices. For instance, The National Grid is updated daily with measurements that are used and understood and put towards wholesale energy prices. The amount of energy transported can be measured daily and an accurate price can be determined.

Related: How electricity is regulated in the UK by Ofgem

This information is provided to gas suppliers and shippers. This is then used to determine the gas bill that is sent to consumers. This means that the data that is collected by the National Grid is very important and is applicable to most people on a daily basis whether they know it or not.

How is it measured?

Once you understand what calorific value is, it is then important to have a basic understanding of how it is achieved.

Calorific value is measured by using a calorimeter. This device measures the amount of energy (heat) given out of a substance when it is burned completely. However for a truly accurate reading, one must know what compound (gas) is being burned.

These compounds are known as methane, ethane, carbon dioxide and more. By knowing what gas is being burned, an accurate measurement of each gas can be determined. There are standards that are in place when the measurement of a gas is carried out. These international standards allow for uniformity in measurements, which helps to increase accuracy.

So there we have it; that’s how energy is measured upon combustion. We hope you have found this article useful. For more articles like this, check out our knowledge centre, and don’t forget to leave a comment below if you have any questions or opinions on this topic.

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Energy Company NumbersView all posts by Energy Company Numbers
Energy Company Numbers is a telephone number directory service dedicated to helping UK consumers keep in touch with their energy suppliers.


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