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Power levels

The comparison of the LHC beam to the power levels of an aircraft carrier or a locomotive raised a question for me. So I looked around to see if that was indeed the case.

The power levels of the LHC are the subject of an answers page. That calculates the beam power at something like 40 MW for the ILC.

As for aircraft carriers, the Nimitz Class looks to have about 200 MW available from its reactors according to the Physics Factbook. For locomotives, the power level looks to be somewhere around 5 MW.

A typical automobile has a power plant about a thousandth the size of the aircraft carrier or a tenth that of a locomotive. Or, you can figure runtime energy from a gallon gasoline having 36.6 KWH of energy (wikipedia). At 12 miles per gallon and 60 miles per hour, that’s 5 gallons per hour. So 36.6 kilowatt hours divided by 5 hours yields a power level of about 9 kilowatts. Motor Trend thinks fuel efficiency stickers on new cars should list kilowatt hours per 100 miles in an article about electrical vehicles. They put gasoline energy density at 33.7 kwh/gallon and diesel at 37.1 (propane is about 27 kwh/g). Keep in mind that average fuel use doesn’t cover peak needs, like going up hills. That is why the car engines have power levels something like 20 times average power needs.

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