A couple of friends were talking about power consumption of various electrical items when one declared "I just don't understand all this kilo-watt, mega-watt stuff !".
His friend explained :-
Imagine a normal, domestic, electric bar heater (shown on the photo on the left). These are typically one kilowatt, that's 1000 watts. A normal person can generate between 100 ~ 400 watts of energy and top athletes can go as high as two thousand watts (2 kilowatts) in short bursts.
Now imagine ten of these 1 kilowatt heaters laid out in a 5 x 2 matrix. This would be ten kilowatts or 10,000 watts of raw heat energy directed at you.
Now imagine one hundred of these 1kw heaters laid out in a 10 x 10 matrix. This would be a hundred kilowatts or 100,000 watts of raw heat energy.
This would cover an area of about 20 feet wide by 10 feet high.
Now imagine one thousand 1 kilowatt heaters arranged in a 40 x 25 matrix. This would be one megawatt or 1000,000 watts of energy. Assuming each heater is about 2 feet by one foot, this would be a wall of pure heat 80 feet wide by 40 feet high - about the size of a medium size house.
Now imagine one million 1 kilowatt heaters arranged in a 1000 x 1000 matrix. This would be one gigawatt of electrical energy. There is no point showing an image of this as it's just a black/orange blur (we did try). This would be a wall of raw heat 2000 feet wide by 1000 feet high - about the size of six Eiffel towers side by side.
This is the typical power output of a nuclear power plant.
For reference, the federation starship Enterprise 1701-D can generate 12.75 Billion Gigawatts via it's warp core. (Source ST:TNG True Q)
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