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HHV vs. LHV: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on April 15, 2024
HHV (Higher Heating Value) measures the total energy released during combustion, including water's latent heat. LHV (Lower Heating Value) excludes this latent heat, providing a lower energy value.

Key Differences

HHV, or Higher Heating Value, represents the total amount of heat released when a fuel is completely combusted and all products are returned to their original pre-combustion temperatures, accounting for the latent heat of vaporization of water. LHV, or Lower Heating Value, on the other hand, measures the heat produced when water remains in the vapor state after combustion, effectively excluding the heat used to vaporize water in the fuel and the moisture in the combustion air.
The main difference between HHV and LHV lies in their consideration of water's latent heat of vaporization. HHV includes this energy, providing a more comprehensive measure of a fuel's energy potential. LHV excludes it, offering a more practical assessment of the usable energy, especially in systems where water vapor remains a gas, such as in gas turbines and high-temperature industrial processes.
In terms of application, HHV is often used in the design and evaluation of systems where condensation of combustion products is expected, such as in condensing boilers and certain types of power plants. LHV is more commonly used in the assessment of internal combustion engines, gas turbines, and non-condensing boilers, where the exhaust gases do not cool below the dew point, and water remains in vapor form.
The choice between HHV and LHV for energy calculations can significantly impact the efficiency and design of energy systems. HHV gives a theoretical maximum energy release from fuels, important for comparing the intrinsic energy content of different fuels. LHV gives a more realistic assessment of the energy that can be practically utilized in systems where water vapor is not condensed and recovered.

Comparison Chart

Consideration of Water

Includes latent heat of vaporized water
Excludes latent heat of vaporized water

Energy Content

Higher due to inclusion of water's energy
Lower due to exclusion of water's energy

Practical Use

Useful in condensing systems
Applied in non-condensing systems


Total energy release including water
Usable energy excluding water vaporization


Condensing boilers, certain power plants
Internal combustion engines, gas turbines

HHV and LHV Definitions


Represents the maximum energy available from combustion.
The HHV of the fuel indicates its maximum potential energy output.


Used in systems where water vapor remains uncondensed.
For our gas turbine, we base our calculations on the LHV of the fuel.


Useful in evaluating fuels for condensing boilers.
For condensing boilers, the HHV provides a more accurate energy estimate.


Reflects the practical energy output excluding water's latent heat.
The LHV gives us a realistic measure of the fuel's usable energy.


Higher than LHV due to latent heat inclusion.
The fuel's HHV is always higher than its LHV because it includes water's latent heat.


Lower than HHV, considering vapor state water.
The fuel's LHV is lower than its HHV due to the exclusion of latent heat.


Important in theoretical energy calculations.
Engineers use HHV for theoretical maximum efficiency calculations.


Critical for non-condensing engine efficiency.
In non-condensing engines, LHV directly impacts efficiency calculations.


Includes the energy from condensing water vapor.
HHV accounts for the additional energy from the condensation of water.


Guides the design of internal combustion engines.
Designers use LHV to optimize internal combustion engine performance.


Is HHV always higher than LHV?

Yes, because it accounts for the total energy, including the heat recovered from condensing water vapor.

Why is HHV important?

It provides a measure of the maximum energy potential of a fuel, important for energy production and efficiency calculations.

What is LHV?

LHV stands for Lower Heating Value, which measures the heat released from combustion without condensing water vapor.

How do HHV and LHV affect emissions calculations?

They can influence CO2 emissions estimates, with LHV-based calculations generally showing higher emissions per unit of energy produced.

How is LHV measured?

Similar to HHV, through calorimetry but without condensing the water vapor produced during combustion.

How is HHV measured?

Through calorimetry, where a fuel sample is burned under controlled conditions to measure the heat output.

How does LHV affect fuel efficiency calculations?

Using LHV can result in a lower efficiency rating compared to HHV, reflecting the actual usable heat.

What is HHV?

HHV stands for Higher Heating Value, representing the total amount of heat released when a fuel is completely combusted and water vapor is condensed.

Does HHV include the latent heat of vaporization?

Yes, it includes the latent heat of vaporization of water in the combustion products.

Are HHV and LHV values significantly different?

The difference can be significant, especially for fuels with high moisture or hydrogen content.

How do engineers choose between HHV and LHV for design?

It depends on the system's goal; LHV for efficiency and realistic performance, HHV for maximum energy potential.

How does the choice between HHV and LHV affect biofuel evaluation?

Using LHV is more appropriate for biofuels to account for their typically higher moisture content.

Do HHV and LHV values change with fuel type?

Yes, different fuels have different HHV and LHV values due to variations in composition.

Why use LHV instead of HHV?

LHV gives a more realistic measure of the usable energy in practical combustion systems where water remains as vapor.

Can LHV be higher than HHV?

No, LHV is always lower than HHV because it does not include the heat of condensation of water vapor.

Which value is more relevant for internal combustion engines?

LHV, because the water produced in combustion exits as vapor, not liquid.

How do HHV and LHV relate to renewable energy sources?

For biomass and biogas, LHV is more relevant, reflecting the actual energy conversion efficiency.

Can software predict HHV and LHV accurately?

Software can estimate HHV and LHV based on fuel composition, but empirical testing is needed for precise values.

Is HHV relevant for natural gas heating systems?

Yes, but LHV is often used for the practical energy content available for heating.

Which is more useful for power plants, HHV or LHV?

LHV is often more useful for power plants, as it reflects the actual energy that can be converted to work.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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