How to Convert Gas Pressure to BTU

By Suman Medda
Natural gas is used to power gas grills.

Natural gas is generally transferred through steel pipes and can be measured by the pressure it exudes onto a valve at the end of the pipe. This pressure reading is given on most natural gas containers, especially those fitted onto gas grills. British Thermal Units (BTU) is a measure of heat output. In some industrial applications, it is important to calculate the amount of heat output that is possible from a certain natural gas pressure.

Use the caliper to measure (in inches) the diameter of the pipe the pressure reading is taken from.

Use a conversion chart to convert the pressure and pipe size to an MBH value, which stands for 1,000 BTUs per hour. For example, a downstream pressure of 9.0 on a 1/2-inch pipe yields a value of 515 MBH.

Divide the value from Step 2 by 1,000 to convert to BTUs per hour. For example, divide 515 by 1000 to yield .515 BTUs per hour.

About the Author

Suman Medda holds a B.S. in biomedical engineering with a specialty in tissue engineering. His biomedical research abstracts have been featured in the Southeastern Surgical Conference. He enjoys technical and scientific writing and has been writing since 2007.