Could Big Ag Boil Niagara Falls?

Published by costrike on

I’m running some numbers for a paper that I’m working on and I’m trying to come up with a way to make the 11 exajoules that are consumed annually in U.S. crop and livestock production a bit more tangible.  Let me know if this grabs you.

11 exajoules is equal to 10,432,965,210,899,000 British Thermal Units (BTUs)

A BTU is the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of a pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit.

The 10,432,965,210,899,000 BTUs consumed annually is equal to 330,600,711,76 BTUs/Second.


6,320,000 Pounds of water flow over Niagara Falls every second.

330,600,711,76 BTUs/Second divided by 6,320,000 Pounds/Second = 52.31 degrees Fahrenheit.


So, it appears that the energy used in direct production of crops and livestock would not be enough to heat the water going over Niagara Falls to the boiling point of roughly 212 F, but it sure would take it a long way towards the goal, and this leaves out all of the energy used in trasport, processing, packaging, retailing/wholesaling and end use.  So, in total we might just get there!


Does this help make the 11 exajoules of energy seem a bit more tangible?  Any thoughts on that comparison, or other ways that might make it more concrete, would be greatly appreciated.