Chemical Energy

ChemistryChemical Bonding and Molecular Structure


The energy that is released in various forms during the chemical reaction is called chemical energy. This energy is mainly released in the form of heat and includes thermal, mechanical, and kinetic energies. Chemical energy is also considered as the form of potential energy.

This energy is often stored in the bonds of chemical compounds like atoms and molecules. The energy in atoms or molecules is then released in a chemical reaction and produces cheat as by-products that is determined as exothermic reaction. Examples of stored chemical energy are petroleum, natural gases, biomass, coal, and batteries. The chemical energy that is released from a material gets transformed into new material completely.

What is chemical energy?

  • The chemical energy usually gets transferred to the surroundings as kinetic energy, thermal and sound energy.

  • Chemical energy is released in the form of heat during chemical reactions and this type of reaction is often determined as the exothermic reaction (Masa et al. 2020).

  • The chemical energy that is present in food products are generally converted into mechanical energy and heat energy by the body. The energy present in chemicals like gasoline and sugar is denoted as the chemical energy.

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Figure 1: Electrolysis of water

It is also a type of potential energy that remains stored in materials based on their locations. The chemical energy that is stored in coal when converted to electrical energy is utilized in power plants. The energy present in batteries used in the electrical power supply is denoted as electrolysis.

Sources and examples of Chemical energy

The examples of chemical energy that are used in everyday life by living organisms are mentioned below.

  • Coal, Natural gasses, Biomass and Wood: Combustion reaction helps to convert chemical energy light and thermal energy in the case of these materials.

  • Propane and Petroleum: They are often burned to release heat and light or other chemical energy like gasoline (Ager et al. 2018).

  • Photosynthesis: Photosynthesis is the essential process through which plants can produce their foods during the day. During this process solar energy changes into chemical energy.

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Figure 2: Photosynthesis is an example of chemical energy generation

  • Cold and Hot packs: In the case of cold packs chemical energy gets absorbed in a chemical reaction. In hot packs heat and light energy are produced by chemical reactions. Both the materials are used in sports.

  • Cellular respiration: Here, a set of reactions changes the glucose chemical energy into ATP chemical energy that the living body used to survive and breathe.

  • Foods: The digestion process in living bodies helps to connect chemical energy to other energies that are used by body cells to function properly.

  • Chemical batteries: The stored chemical energy changes into electricity that is used in electrical power supply.

Factors affecting chemical energy

The energy that is possessed by a substance is based on its position or location with respect to other objects, electric change, and internal tension is often determined as the potential energy. Chemical energy is the form of potential energy as it can be stored in various materials according to their locations (Aslam et al. 2018). This potential energy is divided into 2 main categories like Potential Energy of Elasticity and Potential Energy of Gravity. There are several factors that affect the chemical energy as mentioned below.

  • Mass of the substances impacts the energy of a body and its behavioural properties.

  • The intensity of the gravitational field of the moon and 1/6 of the earth, denotes that gravitational forces, energy, and weight cannot be equal for both.

  • In a gravitational field, the height of a substance denotes the amount of potential energy a substance has on the basis of its mass.

Chemical energy: applications

Starting from foods to natural resources, there is a vast application of chemical energy that are mentioned below.

  • Living organisms consume chemical energy in the form of foods. The chemical reactions that take place in food are due to the breakdown of bonds present between the atoms. The energy that is produced in foods keeps living beings warm and helps in growth and movement (Banerjee et al. 2021).

  • The burning of dry woods also gives out chemical energy in the form of heat energy. This chemical energy gets converted into thermal energy, and light energy. After the woods gets burned fully they turn into ashes which is a new product.

  • Other applications of chemical energy are coal, biomass, batteries, petroleum, fossil fuels, and vehicle airbag.


The most widely used energy source nowadays is denoted as chemical energy. This is a non-renewable source of energy that should be used wisely and its wastage of it can reduce the sustainability of the environment. In chemical reaction when the bond of chemical compounds broke down it results in new bond formation and releases of light and heat energy. The main types of chemical reactions that release chemical energy are single displacement, synthesis, acid-base, combustion, double displacement, and decomposition. In a living body when the food break down takes place and releases chemical energy, that process is denoted as digestion.


Q1. What do you mean by chemical energy?

The energy that is stored in bonds that connect 1 atom with other atoms or molecules with other molecules is determined as the chemical energy. As the by-products of chemical energy heat is often produced and this reaction is referred to as an exothermic reaction.

Q2. How chemical energy is utilized?

The most widely used energy in everyday life is chemical energy as it is very crucial for life's existence and the natural world. The main examples of chemical energy that is used in everyday life are chemical energy in food and wood.

Q3. What are examples of stored chemical energy?

This energy is also referred to as potential energy as it can be stored within materials based on their locations. The major examples of stored chemical energy are coal, biomass, petroleum, chemical batteries, and airbags of vehicles.

Q4. What are the sources of chemical energy?

There are several sources of chemical energy that are found in the surroundings. These are Combustible Liquid Fuels, like methane and gas are the vital forms of chemical energy contributing highly to the world’s economic growth. Other sources include foods, batteries, respiration, photosynthesis, explosives, woods, coals, and cold packs used in sports.



Ager, J. W., & Lapkin, A. A. (2018). Chemical storage of renewable energy. Science, 360(6390), 707-708. Retrieved from: Aslam, U., Rao, V. G., Chavez, S., & Linic, S. (2018). Catalytic conversion of solar to chemical energy on plasmonic metal nanostructures. Nature Catalysis, 1(9), 656-665. Retrieved from:

Banerjee, T., Podjaski, F., Kröger, J., Biswal, B. P., & Lotsch, B. V. (2021). Polymer photocatalysts for solar-to-chemical energy conversion. Nature Reviews Materials, 6(2), 168-190. Retrieved from:

Masa, J., Andronescu, C., & Schuhmann, W. (2020). Electrocatalysis as the nexus for sustainable renewable energy: the Gordian knot of activity, stability, and selectivity. Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 59(36), 15298-15312. Retrieved from:


thoughtco (2022). About What Are the Products of Photosynthesis? Retrieved from: [Retrieved on: 27th June 2022]

Updated on 13-Oct-2022 11:19:47