A Simple Calculation (arithmetic)

to Convert

(per year) to Horsepower

--- alias 'hot-horse-equivalents'

(to express huge numbers
in a more meaningful way)

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This NaturalGas-to-Horsepower Conversion Page

! Note !
Some text and links and images on this page
may be changed (or augmented) --- if/when
I re-visit this page.


Near the bottom of the home page of this site, there is a simple calculation that shows that the heat-generating 'potential' of the 2-billion-plus gasoline-and-diesel-burning internal combustion engines on planet Earth is likely to be the equivalent of about 2 billion times 300 horses = 600 billion horses.

So, in the past 120 years or so (about 1900 to 2020), humans have effectively added about HALF A TRILLION potentially-heat-generating horses to planet Earth --- almost 100 times more 'horse-equivalents' than the 7 billion humans on Earth (100 for every human) --- and about 10,000 times more than the 60 million actual horses in the world.

    (Luckily, nowhere near all of those 'horse-equivalents' are working 24 hours a day, every day.)

That bottom section of the home page also points out that --- in addition to internal combustion engines --- burning LIQUID petroleum fuels --- generating enormous amounts of heat into the atmosphere --- there are millions of industrial and residential NATURAL-GAS ovens, kilns, furnaces, heaters, smelters, foundries, gas turbines for electricity generation, etc. --- running 24/7 --- or 3/7 --- or 16/5 --- or thereabout.

Those millions of furnaces-ovens-kilns-etc are generating (every day) billions of 'hot horse equivalents' of heat by the consumption of the world's NATURAL GAS.

    (By 'hot-horse-equivalent' is meant the heat generated by a hard-working, untiring horse --- all day, every day --- without the horse-poop.)

The intent of this page is provide a simple arithmetic calculation (using only multiplication and division of a few quantities) to convert the world consumption of NATURAL GAS (in cubic feet per year, say) to horsepower --- which is defined as the ability to lift 550 pounds (250 kilograms) one foot in one second.

    We can provide a more precise definition of 'hot horse equivalent' than the rather-vague description above.

    A 'hot horse equivalent' is the heat energy being generated constantly at the same energy generation rate as a horse lifting 550 pounds one foot in each second, every second of every day.

    In slang-like words, a 'hot horse equivalent' is the constant heat generation from a hard-working 'super horse' that never gets tired and works 24 hours a day, day after day.

Note that power is a measure of the amount of energy created or expended per unit of time.

Also note that a 'foot-pound' is a unit-of-measure of energy.


There are several ways that the annual world-wide consumption of NATURAL GAS could be converted to 'horse-equivalents' (horsepower) --- using various units of measure and various conversion factors.

Here is an outline of one such method:

  1. Find the annual consumption of natural gas --- in cubic feet, say.

    For example, at eia.gov one can find a report that between 1980 and 2010, global consumption of dry natural gas rose from 53 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) to 113 Tcf.

    In 2020, consumption is probably higher than 113,000,000,000,000 = 113,000 billion cubic feet, but we will use that conservative figure in our calculations --- although there were probably about 30 trillion more cubic feet per year consumed in 2020.

  2. Find a conversion factor for the energy in a cubic foot of natural gas to energy units of horsepower-hours.

    For example, kylesconverter.com shows that 1 Cubic Foot Of Natural Gas is equal to 0.393 Horsepower-hours.

  3. There are about 365 x 24 = 8,760 hours in a year.

  4. We can divide the annual consumption of natural gas --- 133,000 billion cubic feet --- by 8,760 hours to get a consumption rate of 15.18 billion cubic feet per hour.

  5. We can multiply

    15.18 BILLION cubic-feet per hour

    by the conversion factor

    0.393 horsepower-hours per cubic-foot

    to give

    5.96 BILLION horsepower
    (or 'horse-equivalents' --- of heat energy generation per unit of time)

A units-of-measure check:

cubic-feet / hour   times   horsepower-hours / cubic-foot



because the hour and cubic-foot units cancel leaving horsepower.

The bottom-line :

Due to annual world-wide consumption of natural gas, humans have added the equivalent of about 6 BILLION heat-generating, 24-hours-a-day, non-tiring, hard-working horses to the planet --- about 100 times more than the 60 million actual horses in the world.

This 6 billion 'natural-gas-horses' is in addition to the 7 billion-plus humans --- with their 2-billion-plus internal combustion engines (ICE's) that burn LIQUID petroleum fuels.

    A circa-2020 article titled "Two billion points of carbon dioxide pollution" pointed out the following.

      "Worldwide, an estimated two billion internal combustion engines propel a global inventory of automobiles, locomotives, ships, aircraft, stationary power generators, lawnmowers and hand-held tools. Tens of thousands of industrial boilers drive steam turbines that turn electric generators in electricity plants, and hundreds of blast furnaces and kilns produce steel and cement. Millions of oil furnaces heat homes. Millions of gas stoves cook food."

    About 1.2 billion of those ICE's are in cars and trucks --- with typical horsepower ratings in the range of 200 to 500 horsepower.

    Marine engines have typical horsepower ratings in a wide range --- from about 5,000 to 110,000 horsepower. About 20,000 to 50,000 horsepower is the typical range for yachts.

    Large motorcycles have a horsepower rating of about 110 horses.

    On the other hand, small ICE's --- in mopeds and lawnmowers and leaf blowers --- have horsepower ratings of less than 7 horsepower.

    It is difficult to find numbers and horsepower ratings for all the various sized ICE's, but let us roughly guess that those 1.2 billion vehicle engines average about 200 horsepower and the remaining 0.8 billion engines average about 10 horsepower.

    Then they amount to

    (1.2 x 200) + (0.8 x 10) = 240 + 8 = 248 billion horses

    Admittedly, those 2-billion engines are not running 24 hours per day --- but say, on average, they are running about 1 hour per day (about one 24th of each day).

    Then that 'HEAT POTENTIAL' of about 248 billion 'horse-equivalents' is reduced to about 248 / 24 = about 10 billion 'hot-horse-equivalents' of actual heat generation every day.

    Together with the approximately 6 billion 'horse-equivalents' of heat generation from burning of natural gas in furnaces-ovens-kilns-etc, that means that --- from natural-gas-burning and from fuel burning in internal combustion engines --- there is approximately

    16 billion 'hot-horse-equivalents' of heat generation on planet Earth each day

    --- about 267 times more than the 60 million actual horses in the world.

Here is an augmentation of what was mentioned at the bottom of the home page of this site --- using our world-natural-gas-consumption figures:

In the 1600's, the "Father of Microbiology" Antonie van Leeuwenhoek predicted that the Earth could support no more than 13.4 billion people, due to the land-area limitation.

BUT ... Leeuwenhoek had not counted on the gasoline-and-diesel-burning 'internal combustion engine' and 'oil-and-gas fossil fuels' and 'faster transportation' and 'labor saving machines' --- nor did he take into account the proliferation of natural-gas-burning furnaces and ovens and kilns and gas-turbines etc.

The end result, at this time (around the year 2020):

About 7.5 billion humans who are responsible for at least 16 BILLION hot-horse-equivalents of heat generation every day on planet Earth.

    Yet to be calculated:
    The number of 'horse-equivalents' in the 8.5 billion tons of coal being burned world-wide, annually.

    Here is a link to a page showing that there are about 10 billion 'hot-untiring-horse-equivalents' in the COAL being burned world-wide.

    In addition, here is a link to a page that provides a better calculation of the billions of 'hot-horse-equivalents' in the LIQUID petroleum products (OIL distillates) being burned world-wide --- giving a better figure than the 10 billion 'horse-equivalents' very-rough estimate above, that was based on numbers of internal combustion engines and their horsepower ratings.

    That 'Petroleum Liquids' page shows that there are about 8 billion 'hot-untiring-horse-equivalents' in the OIL-distillates being burned world-wide.

    So about 7.5 billion humans are responsible for about 6 + 10 + 8 = 24 BILLION hot-horse-equivalents of heat generation every day on planet Earth --- due to burning natural-gas AND coal AND oil distillates --- about 400 times more horse-equivalents than the 60 million actual horses in the world.

    Another way of looking at this:
    Each human has, on average, about 24 / 7.5 = 3.2 horse-equivalents working for them --- 24 hours a day --- every day.


Humans have some work to do, if they want to stop over-heating their world and avoid wiping themselves out.

Note that the neutralizing effect of glaciers and snow and ice is fast disappearing. When they are gone, the Earth temperatures will REALLY start rising fast.

For further facts on NATURAL GAS heat-generation and atmospheric heating, here are some web searches to try (and to modify).

You could try changing some of these 'keywords' to look for information of interest to you.

Bottom of this
NaturalGas-to-Horsepower Conversion page.

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Page history:

Page was created 2020 Aug 18.

Page was changed 2020 Aug 23.
(Added a link to the COAL-to-HorseEquivalents page.)

Page was changed 2020 Aug 24.
(Revised the 'internal combustion engine' discussion and added a link to the Petroleum-LIQUDS-to-HorseEquivalents page.)

Besides humans burning natural gas --- there are
craters of burning natural gas in various areas of
the world --- such as Russia and this crater in Turkmenistan.