The Physics
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Energy in a Cubic Meter of Natural Gas

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Bibliographic Entry Result
(w/surrounding text)
"Energy." Science & Technology. Gale Research Inc., 1993.
Fuel BTU Unit of Measure
Natural Gas 1000 cubic feet
37 MJ
"Heat of Combustion." Handbook of Chemistry & Physics. Chemical Rubber Co. Press LLC, 2001.
Molecular Formula Hydrocarbons kJ/mol
CH4 methane (g) 890.8
40 MJ
Natural Gas Facts. "A cubic foot of natural gas gives off 1000 Btu, but the range of values is 500 to 1500 Btu." 37 MJ
19–56 MJ
"Fuel Gas." McGraw Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology. McGraw Hill, Inc., 1982. "The net heating value of natural gas served by a utility company is often 1000 to 1100 Btu/ft3." 37–41 MJ
Approximate Heat Content of Natural Gas. Energy Information Administration.
Year Total Consumption
1949 1035 Btu/ft3
2000 1027 Btu/ft3
39 MJ
38 MJ

Fuel gases have become prominent since 1900 because of the industrial period. Most fuel gases are made up of hydrogen, carbon monoxide, methane, ethane or other combustibles. One type of fuel gas is natural gas. The term "natural gas" applies to gases with geological components. Natural gas is used for heating because it is very clean, has high heat content, and high flame temperature.

Natural gas is sold in volume units. The amount heat that is provided when a unit volume of natural gas is burned is often measured in British thermal units (Btu) per cubic feet. A British thermal unit is a common energy measurement and is defined as the amount of energy required to raise one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. A cubic foot of natural gas accumulations vary in amount and types of gases in it. If more carbon atoms are in the hydrogen gas, the value of Btu is higher.

The amount of energy of natural gas can be converted from Btu per cubic feet to Joules per cubic meter. If 1 Btu equals 1055.1 J and 1 ft3 equals 0.028316 m3, then 1000 Btu/ft3 multiplied by 1055.1 J and divided by 0.028316 m3 equals 37 MJ/m3, which is the average energy content of natural gas.

Jany Tran -- 2002