Thermal energy is used to cook food, heat buildings and generate electricity. The joule, named after James Prescott Joule, is the unit by which thermal energy is measured.Continue Reading
It is easy to confuse thermal energy and heat, or even think that the terms can be used interchangeably. However, the two terms are quite different. Thermal energy is the energy that comes from heat. When thermal energy is transferred, it is called heat. Heat is a temperature and is measured in degrees of Fahrenheit or Celsius. An object can contain thermal energy, but it cannot contain heat.
Thermal energy most commonly comes from fossil fuels such as coal or gas. In addition, thermal energy can be generated by resources such as biomass, solar and geothermal.