What Is an Example of Chemical Energy?

Batteries and fuels are two good examples of chemical energy.
John Lund, Getty Images

Chemical energy is the energy stored within chemicals, which makes it energy inside atoms and molecules. Most often, it's considered energy of chemical bonds, but the term also includes energy stored in the electron arrangement of atoms and ions. It is 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.

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 is a set of reactions that change chemical energy in glucose into chemical energy in ATP, a form our bodies can use

    5 Types of Energy