Chemical Energy

What a Reaction!

Petrochemical Refinery Plant

Petrochemical Refinery Plant

In a Flash

Chemical Energy

Chemical energy is energy stored in the bonds of chemical compounds, like atoms and molecules. This energy is released when a chemical reaction takes place.

Usually, once chemical energy has been released from a substance, that substance is transformed into a completely new substance.

Burning Questions

What is chemical energy?

Chemical energy is stored in the bonds that connect atoms with other atoms and molecules with other molecules. Because chemical energy is stored, it is a form of potential energy.


Humans consume chemical energy contained in food.

When a chemical reaction takes place, the stored chemical energy is released.

Heat is often produced as a by-product of a chemical reaction – this is called an exothermic reaction.

How is chemical energy used?

Chemical energy is the most widely used type of energy in the world, as it is crucial to the existence of humans and the natural world.

Here are some examples of chemical energy in action:

Chemical energy in food

The food we eat contains stored chemical energy. As the bonds between the atoms in food loosen or break, a chemical reaction takes place, and new compounds are created.

The energy produced from this reaction keeps us warm, helps us move, and allows us to grow. Different foods store different amounts of energy.

Wood Combustion

When wood burns, the chemical energy stored in it is released as heat.

Chemical energy in wood

Dry wood contains stored chemical energy. When you burn that wood in a fireplace, chemical energy is released and converted into thermal energy (heat) and light energy.

And what about the wood? Following the chemical reaction, it's now turned into a new substance – ash.

What are some other examples of stored chemical energy?

Stored chemical energy can be found in:

Riding a Rollercoaster'


People playing sport'


Flying Fish'

Natural Gas

Riding a bike'


Running water'

Chemical Batteries

Jumping into a lake'

Vehicle Air Bags

Photosynthesis Diagram

Sunlight creates a chemical reaction that gives plants energy to grow.

What Do You Mean?

Chemical energy is energy that is stored in the bonds between chemical compounds, such as atoms and molecules.

A chemical reaction is the process of atoms being rearranged due to a chemical change, resulting in a new substance being produced.

An exothermic reaction is a form of chemical reaction when heat is produced as a by-product.

Cool Facts

We all use chemical energy every day to perform daily functions – you're using chemical energy right now to read this page!

Cool Facts

Chemical energy can be converted into electrical energy. A good example of this type of conversion can be seen at a power plant where coal is converted into electrical power.

Speedy Summary

Chemical energy is energy that is stored in the bonds between chemical compounds. It is released when a chemical reaction takes place. A chemical reaction results in a new substance being produced.