How Do I Calculate Thermal Efficiency?

Easily calculate thermal efficiency by identifying the ratio of the hot and cold input and output occurring in a power cycle. This requires comparing the desired output with the required input as a consideration of how efficiently a power cycle operates. It is done to help eliminate waste, understand operations and improve functionality.

  1. Identify power cycle goals

    Assume the goal of a power cycle is to produce a net amount of work. This work represents the desired output. When you divide this total by the amount of required input, you calculate thermal efficiency for the power cycle.

  2. Convert these terms into a simple equation

    Convert these terms to mathematical symbols to use them in the equation. Thermal efficiency is calculated as the desired work output of a power cycle divided by its required input. The formula is η = WHE / QH.

  3. Add in real figures

    Fill out the equation with real terms of power usage within the cycle. These should be in joules. Then, solve the equation simplifying it using the laws of thermal energy and physics that are found via a search engine or textbook in a related field. With this, determine the system’s final thermal efficiency quotient in joules.