12 Examples of Chemical Energy

It's a form of potential energy

Examples of chemical energy: coal, natural gas, wood, photosynthesis, propane, biomass, food, petroleum, cellular respiration, chemical batteries

ThoughtCo / Grace Kim

Chemical energy is the energy stored within chemicals, which makes its energy inside atoms and molecules. Most often, it's considered the energy of chemical bonds, but the term also includes energy stored in the electron arrangement of atoms and ions. It's a form of potential energy that you won't observe until a reaction occurs. Chemical energy can be changed into other forms of energy through chemical reactions or chemical changes. Energy, often in the form of heat, is absorbed or released when chemical energy is converted to another form.

Chemical Energy Examples

  • Chemical energy is a form of potential energy found within chemical bonds, atoms, and subatomic particles.
  • Chemical energy can be observed and measured only when a chemical reaction occurs.
  • Any matter considered to be a fuel contains chemical energy.
  • The energy can be released or absorbed. For example, combustion releases more energy than is needed to initiate the reaction. Photosynthesis absorbs more energy than it releases.

Examples of Chemical Energy

Basically, any compound contains chemical energy that can be released when its chemical bonds are broken. Any substance that can be used as a fuel contains chemical energy. Examples of matter containing chemical energy include:

  • Coal: Combustion reaction converts chemical energy into light and heat.
  • Wood: Combustion reaction converts chemical energy into light and heat.
  • Petroleum: Can be burned to release light and heat or changed into another form of chemical energy, such as gasoline.
  • Chemical batteries: Store chemical energy to be changed into electricity.
  • Biomass: Combustion reaction converts chemical energy into light and heat.
  • Natural gas: Combustion reaction converts chemical energy into light and heat.
  • Food: Digested to convert chemical energy into other forms of energy used by cells.
  • Cold packs: Chemical energy is absorbed in a reaction.
  • Propane: Burned to produce heat and light.
  • Hot packs: Chemical reaction produces heat or thermal energy.
  • Photosynthesis: Changes solar energy into chemical energy.
  • Cellular respiration: A set of reactions that changes the chemical energy in glucose into chemical energy in ATP, a form our bodies can use.

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