H2P Calculator

Heat can be converted into work or electric power using some sort of heat engine, such as the steam engine. Many types and variations of heat engines exist, from the steam engine to modern and exotic novel concepts. When exploring the heat-to-power conversion, all heat engines are limited by the same laws of nature dictating the maximum amount of work or electric power that can be extracted from a heat source.

Only part of the energy in heat can be converted to electric power, the rest is rejected to ambient at low temperature. The higher the temperature of the heat, the more of the thermal energy can be extracted as work.

The H2P calculator outputs the maximum theoretical potential together with a range of feasibly obtainable net power output for a given heat source.

Trond Andresen
Senior Research Scientist



A sensible heat source reduces temperature when heat is transferred. A latent heat source release heat at constant temperature and changes phase (e.g. condensation of steam)


The system's exergy efficiency; how close to theoretical maximum performance the system manages. The feasible range is considered to be between 30-70%. The upper range can only be reached with very efficient components and excellent system design and operation.


Allowable lower temperature limit for cooling the heat source

Available heat for energy recovery: ... kW

Total thermal energy: ... kW

Net power production: ... kWe

Maximum theoretical potential: ... kWe

SINTEF Energy Research perform research and development with Norwegian and International industry across the entire range of heat-to-power conversion, from fundamentals on fluid properties, to advanced numerical models and optimization, component development, system design, and industrial integration.

Related projects:

  • KPN COPRO – Competetive power production from industrial surplus heat
  • FME HighEFF – Centre for an Energy Efficient and Competitive Industry for the Future
  • HighEFFlab – National Laboratories for an Energy Efficient Industry

Link to other relevant blogs: