Orders of magnitude (power)

This page lists examples of the power in watts produced by various sources of energy. They are grouped by orders of magnitude.

Below 1 W

Factor (Watts) SI prefix Value (Watts) Item
10−27 1.64×1027 phys: approximate power of gravitational radiation emitted by a 1000 kg satellite in geosynchronous orbit around the Earth.
10−24 Yocto- (yW)
10−21 Zepto- (zW) ~1×1021 biomed: lowest recorded power consumption of a deep-subsurface marine microbe [1]
10−20 ~1×1020 tech: approximate power of Galileo space probe's radio signal (when at Jupiter) as received on earth by a 70-meter DSN antenna.
10−18 Atto- (aW) 1×1018 phys: approximate power scale at which operation of nanoelectromechanical systems are overwhelmed by thermal fluctuations.[2]
10−16 1×1016 tech: the GPS signal strength measured at the surface of the Earth.[clarification needed][3]
10−15 Femto- (fW) 2.5×1015 tech: minimum discernible signal at the antenna terminal of a good FM radio receiver
10−14 1×1014 tech: approximate lower limit of power reception on digital spread-spectrum cell phones (−110 dBm)
10−12 Pico- (pW) 1×1012 biomed: average power consumption of a human cell (−90 dBm)
10−11 1.84×1011 phys: power lost in the form of synchrotron radiation by a proton revolving in the Large Hadron Collider at 7000 GeV[4]
10−10 1.5×1010 biomed: power entering a human eye from a 100-watt lamp 1 km away[clarification needed]
10−9 Nano- (nW) 2–15×109 tech: power consumption of 8-bit PIC microcontroller chips when in "sleep" mode
10−6 Micro- (μW) 1×106 tech: approximate consumption of a quartz or mechanical wristwatch (−30 dBm)
3×106 astro: cosmic microwave background radiation per square meter
10−5 5×105 biomed: sound power incident on a human eardrum at the threshold intensity for pain (500 mW/m2).
10−3 Milli- (mW) 5×103 tech: laser in a CD-ROM drive
5–10×103 tech: laser in a DVD player
10−2 Centi- (cW) 7×102 tech: antenna power in a typical consumer wireless router
10−1 Deci- (dW) 5×101 tech: maximum allowed carrier output power of an FRS radio

1 to 102 W

Factor (Watts) SI prefix Value (Watts) Item
100 W 1 tech: cellphone camera light[5]
2 tech: maximum allowed carrier power output of a MURS radio
4 tech: the power consumption of an incandescent night light
4 tech: maximum allowed carrier power output of a 10-meter CB radio
7 tech: the power consumption of a typical Light-emitting diode (LED) light bulb
8 tech: human-powered equipment using a hand crank.[6]
101 Deca- (daW) 1.4 x 101 tech: the power consumption of a typical household compact fluorescent light bulb
2–4 x 101 biomed: approximate power consumption of the human brain[7]
3–4 x 101 tech: the power consumption of a typical household fluorescent tube light
6 x 101 tech: the power consumption of a typical household incandescent light bulb
102 Hecto- (hW) 1 x 102 biomed: approximate basal metabolic rate of an adult human body[8]
1.2 x 102 tech: electric power output of 1 m2 solar panel in full sunlight (approx. 12% efficiency), at sea level
1.3 x 102 tech: peak power consumption of a Pentium 4 CPU
2 x 102 tech: stationary bicycle average power output[9][10]
2.9 x 102 units: approximately 1000 BTU/hour
3–4 x 102 tech: PC GPU Nvidia Geforce Fermi 480 peak power consumption[11]
4 x 102 tech: legal limit of power output of an amateur radio station in the United Kingdom
5 x 102 biomed: power output (useful work plus heat) of a person working hard physically
7.457 x 102 units: 1 horsepower[12]
7.5 x 102 astro: approximately the amount of sunshine falling on a square metre of the Earth's surface at noon on a clear day in March for northern temperate latitudes
9.09 x 102 biomed: peak output power of a healthy human (non-athlete) during a 30-second cycle sprint at 30.1 degree Celsius.[13]

103 to 108 W

103 Kilo- (kW) 1-3 x 103 W tech: heat output of a domestic electric kettle
1.1 x 103 W tech: power of a microwave oven
1.366 x 103 W astro: power per square metre received from the Sun at the Earth's orbit
1.5 x 103 W tech: legal limit of power output of an amateur radio station in the United States
up to 2 x 103 W biomed: approximate short-time power output of sprinting professional cyclists and weightlifters doing snatch lifts
2.4 x 103 W geo: average power consumption per person worldwide in 2008 (21,283 kWh/year)
3.3–6.6 x 103 W eco: average photosynthetic power output per square kilometer of ocean[14]
3.6 x 103 W tech: synchrotron radiation power lost per ring in the Large Hadron Collider at 7000 GeV[4]
104 1–5 x 104 W tech: nominal power of clear channel AM[15]
1.00 x 104 W eco: average power consumption per person in the United States in 2008 (87,216 kWh/year)
1.4 x 104 W tech: average power consumption of an electric car on EPA's Highway test schedule[16][17]
1.6–3.2 x 104 W eco: average photosynthetic power output per square kilometer of land[14]
3 x 104 W tech: power generated by the four motors of GEN H-4 one-man helicopter
4–20 x 104 W tech: approximate range of peak power output of typical automobiles (50-250 hp)
5–10 x 104 W tech: highest allowed ERP for an FM band radio station in the United States[18]
105 1.67 x 105 W tech: power consumption of UNIVAC 1 computer
2.5–8 x 105 W tech: approximate range of power output of 'supercars' (300 to 1000 hp)
4.5 x 105 W tech: approximate maximum power output of a large 18-wheeler truck engine (600 hp)
106 Mega-(MW) 1.3 x 106 W tech: power output of P-51 Mustang fighter aircraft
2.0 x 106 W tech: peak power output of GE's standard wind turbine
2.4 x 106 W tech: peak power output of a Princess Coronation class steam locomotive (approx 3.3K EDHP on test) (1937)
2.5 x 106 W biomed: peak power output of a blue whale
3 x 106 W tech: mechanical power output of a diesel locomotive
7 x 106 W tech: mechanical power output of a Top Fuel dragster
8 x 106 W tech: peak power output of the MHI Vestas V164, the world's largest offshore wind turbine
107 1 x 107 W tech: highest ERP allowed for an UHF television station
1.03 x 107 W geo: electrical power output of Togo
1.22 x 107 W tech: approx power available to a Eurostar 20-carriage train
1.6 x 107 W tech: rate at which a typical gasoline pump transfers chemical energy to a vehicle
2.6 x 107 W tech: peak power output of the reactor of a Los Angeles-class nuclear submarine
7.5 x 107 W tech: maximum power output of one GE90 jet engine as installed on the Boeing 777
108 1.4 x 108 W tech: average power consumption of a Boeing 747 passenger aircraft
1.9 x 108 W tech: peak power output of a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier
5 x 108 W tech: typical power output of a Fossil fuel power station
9 x 108 W tech: electric power output of a CANDU nuclear reactor
9.59 x 108 W geo: average electrical power consumption of Zimbabwe in 1998

The productive capacity of electrical generators operated by utility companies is often measured in MW. Few things can sustain the transfer or consumption of energy on this scale; some of these events or entities include: lightning strikes, naval craft (such as aircraft carriers and submarines), engineering hardware, and some scientific research equipment (such as supercolliders and large lasers).

For reference, about 10,000 100-watt lightbulbs or 5,000 computer systems would be needed to draw 1 MW. Also, 1 MW is approximately 1360 horsepower. Modern high-power diesel-electric locomotives typically have a peak power of 3–5 MW, while a typical modern nuclear power plant produces on the order of 500–2000 MW peak output.

109 to 1014 W

109 Giga- (GW)

1.3 x 109

tech: electric power output of Manitoba Hydro Limestone hydroelectric generating station
2.074 x 109 tech: peak power generation of Hoover Dam
2.1 x 109 tech: peak power generation of Aswan Dam
3.4 x 109 tech: estimated power consumption of the Bitcoin network in 2017[19]
4.116 x 109 tech: installed capacity of Kendal Power Station, the world's largest coal-fired power plant.
8.21 x 109 tech: capacity of the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant, the world's largest Nuclear power plant.[20][21]
1010 1.07 x 1010 tech: estimated energy production of Costa Rica for 2015[22]
1.17 x 1010 tech: power produced by the Space Shuttle in liftoff configuration (9.875 GW from the SRBs; 1.9875 GW from the SSMEs.)[23]
1.26 x 1010 tech: electrical power generation of the Itaipu Dam
1.27 x 1010 geo: average electrical power consumption of Norway in 1998
1.83 x 1010 tech: peak electrical power generation of the Three Gorges Dam, the world's largest hydroelectric power plant of any type.
2.24 x 1010 tech: peak power of all German solar panels (at noon on a cloudless day), researched by the Fraunhofer ISE research institute in 2014[24]
5.027 x 1010 tech: peak electrical power consumption of California Independent System Operator users between 1998 and 2018, recorded at 14:44 Pacific Time, July 24, 2006.[25]
5.5 x 1010 tech: peak daily electrical power consumption of Great Britain in November 2008.[26]
7.31 x 1010 tech: total installed power capacity of Turkey on December 31, 2015.[27]
1011 1.016 x 1011 tech: peak electrical power consumption of France (February 8, 2012 at 7:00 pm)
1.66 x 1011 tech: average power consumption of the first stage of the Saturn V rocket.[28][29]
4.33 x 1011 tech: total installed wind turbine capacity at end of 2015.[30]
7 x 1011 biomed: humankind basal metabolic rate as of 2013 (7 billion people).
1012 Tera- (TW) 2 x 1012 astro: approximate power generated between the surfaces of Jupiter and its moon Io due to Jupiter's tremendous magnetic field.[31]
3.34 x 1012 geo: average total (gas, electricity, etc.) power consumption of the US in 2005[32]
1013 1.81 x 1013 tech: average total power consumption of the human world in 2013[33]
3.0 x 1013 geo: average total natural energy output from radioactive decay within Earth's interior.
4.4 x 1013 geo: average total heat flux from Earth's interior, i.e. the total rate at which Earth naturally radiates thermal energy into space less the rate at which the Earth absorbs solar energy.[34] The current net rate at which geothermal heat is naturally lost to space is this number less the aforementioned replenishment from radioactive decay, i.e. ~1.4 x 1013 W.
7.5 x 1013 eco: global net primary production (= biomass production) via photosynthesis[citation needed]
5–20 x 1013 weather: rate of heat energy release by a hurricane
1014 2.9 x 1014 tech: the power the Z machine reaches in 1 billionth of a second when it is fired
3 × 1014 weather: Hurricane Katrina's rate of energy production over its lifetime[35]
3 x 1014 tech: power reached by the extremely high-power Hercules laser from the University of Michigan.

1015 to 1026 W

1015 Peta- ~2 x 1.00 x 1015 W tech: Omega EP laser power at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics. There are two separate beams that are combined.
1.4 x 1015 W geo: estimated heat flux transported by the Gulf Stream.
4 x 1015 W geo: estimated total heat flux transported by Earth's atmosphere and oceans away from the equator towards the poles.
7 x 1015 W tech: worlds most powerful laser in operation (claimed on February 7, 2019 by Extreme Light Infrastructure – Nuclear Physics (ELI-NP) at Magurele, Romania)[36]
1016 1.03 x 1016 W tech: world's most powerful laser pulses (claimed on October 24, 2017 by SULF of Shanghai Institute of Optics and Fine Mechanics).[37]
1–10 x 1016 W geo: estimated total power output of a Type-I civilization on the Kardashev scale.
1017 1.740 x 1017 W astro: total power received by Earth from the Sun
2 x 1017 W tech: planned peak power of Extreme Light Infrastructure laser[38]
1018 Exa- (EW) In a keynote presentation, NIF & Photon Science Chief Technology Officer Chris Barty described the "Nexawatt" Laser, an exawatt (1,000-petawatt) laser concept based on NIF technologies, on April 13 at the SPIE Optics + Optoelectronics 2015 Conference in Prague. Barty also gave an invited talk on "Laser-Based Nuclear Photonics" at the SPIE meeting.[39]
1021 Zetta- (ZW)
1023 1.35 x 1023 W astro: approximate luminosity of Wolf 359
1024 Yotta- (YW) 5.3 x 1024 W tech: estimated power of the Tsar Bomba hydrogen bomb detonation[40]
1025 1–10 x 1025 W geo: estimated total power output of a Type-II civilization on the Kardashev scale.
1026 3.846 x 1026 W astro: luminosity of the Sun

Over 1027 W

1031 3.31 × 1031 W astro: approximate luminosity of Beta Centauri
1032 1.23 × 1032 W astro: approximate luminosity of Deneb
1033 3.0768 × 1033 W astro: approximate luminosity of R136a1
1036 5 × 1036 W astro: approximate luminosity of the Milky Way galaxy.[41]
1038 2.2 × 1038 W astro: approximate luminosity of the extremely luminous supernova ASASSN-15lh[42][43]
1039 1 × 1039 W astro: average luminosity of a quasar
1040 5 × 1040 W astro: approximate peak luminosity of the energetic fast blue optical transient CSS161010[44]
1041 1 × 1041 W astro: approximate luminosity of the most luminous quasars in our universe, e.g., APM 08279+5255 and HS 1946+7658.[45]
1042 1 × 1042 W astro: approximate luminosity of the Local Supercluster
3 × 1042 W astro: approximate luminosity of an average gamma-ray burst[46]
1046 1 × 1046 W astro: record for maximum beaming-corrected intrinsic luminosity ever achieved by a gamma-ray burst[47]
1047 7.6 × 1047 W phys: Hawking radiation luminosity of a Planck mass black hole[48]
1049 3.6 × 1049 W astro: approximate peak power of GW150914, the first observation of gravitational waves
1052 3.63 × 1052 W phys: the coherent unit of power in the Planck units[note 1]

See also


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  2. ^ "Nanoelectromechanical systems face the future". Physics World. February 1, 2001.
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  4. ^ a b CERN. Beam Parameters and Definitions". Table 2.2. Retrieved September 13, 2008
  5. ^ https://www.eetimes.com/driving-led-lighting-in-mobile-phones-and-pdas/. Missing or empty |title=
  6. ^ dtic.mil – harvesting energy with hand-crank generators to support dismounted soldier missions, 2004-12-xx
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  8. ^ Maury Tiernan (November 1997). "The Comfort Zone" (PDF). Geary Pacific Corporation. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 17, 2008. Retrieved March 17, 2008.
  9. ^ alternative-energy-news.info – The Pedal-A-Watt Stationary Bicycle Generator, January 11, 2010
  10. ^ econvergence.net – The Pedal-A-Watt Bicycle Generator Stand Buy one or build with detailed plans., 2012
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  16. ^ "Detailed Fuel Economy Test Information". EPA. Retrieved February 17, 2019.
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  18. ^ "FM Broadcast Station Classes and Service Contours". December 11, 2015.
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  31. ^ [2] Archived May 29, 2009, at the Wayback Machine – Nasa: Listening to shortwave radio signals from Jupiter
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  33. ^ "International Energy Statistics". U.S. Energy Information Administration.
  34. ^ Dumé, Belle (July 27, 2005). "Geoneutrinos make their debut". Physics World. Figure 1 Radiogenic heat in the Earth
  35. ^ "ATMO336 - Fall 2005". www.atmo.arizona.edu. Retrieved November 18, 2020.
  36. ^ "Scientists create record-breaking 10-petawatt laser that can vaporize matter". TechSpot. Retrieved November 24, 2020.
  37. ^ "Super Laser Sets Another Record For Peak Power". Shanghai Municipal Government. October 26, 2017.
  38. ^ eli-beams.eu: Lasers Archived March 5, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
  39. ^ "Papers and Presentations". Lasers.llnl.gov. January 28, 2016. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  40. ^ Matt Ford (September 15, 2006). "The biggest explosion in our solar system". Ars Technica. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  41. ^ van den Bergh, Sidney (1999). "The local group of galaxies". Astronomy and Astrophysics Review. 9 (3–4): 273–318. Bibcode:1999A&ARv...9..273V. doi:10.1007/s001590050019. ISSN 0935-4956. S2CID 119392899.
  42. ^ Dong, Subo; Shappee, B. J.; Prieto, J. L.; Jha, S. W.; Stanek, K. Z.; Holoien, T. W.-S.; Kochanek, C. S.; Thompson, T. A.; Morrell, N.; Thompson, I. B.; Basu, U. (January 15, 2016). "ASASSN-15lh: A highly super-luminous supernova". Science. 351 (6270): 257–260. arXiv:1507.03010. Bibcode:2016Sci...351..257D. doi:10.1126/science.aac9613. ISSN 0036-8075. PMID 26816375. S2CID 31444274.
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