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TYPES OF ENERGY STORE - examples explained

(a) Examples of chemical energy stores

Doc Brown's Physics Exam Revision Notes:  This page will help you answer questions such as ... What is a chemical energy store?  Give some examples of chemical energy stores.   Examples of chemical energy stores are explained

Index of types of energy stores/transfers

Chemical energy and chemical energy stores

  • Chemical energy is 'stored' or 'bound up' in chemical elements/compounds by virtue of their chemical structure.

  • A chemical energy store consists of chemicals that release energy when they react e.g.

    • Burning hydrocarbon fuels like petrol from crude oil converts stored chemical energy into thermal (heat) energy,

    • Animals metabolising foods like fats and carbohydrates releases energy to power living cells in any organism - they provide energy to power the chemistry of life and provide heat energy for mammals like us!

    • Discharging a charged car battery containing sulfuric acid solution and lead electrodes coverts chemical energy to electrical energy.

    • A zinc-carbon-acidic paste battery is convenient for use in torches.

    • Fuels cells can run of the chemical energy store of hydrogen and oxygen.

  • zinc-carbon batterySince chemical energy is a form of stored energy e.g. a battery or tank of fuel, it does nothing until it is released and converted into another form of energy - usually electrical energy or heat energy.

    • All these conversions involve transferring energy from type of energy store to another type of energy store.

  • INDEX of energy changes-transfers in chemical reactions notes (gcse chemistry notes)

  • See Thermal energy notes for a simple calorimeter experiment to measuring the efficiency of a fuel in terms of thermal energy output.

Measurement of the efficiency of a fuel using a simple calorimeter


When a fuel is burned, the chemical potential energy contained in the fuel is converted to thermal energy.

The diagram shows a simple calorimeter system for measuring the heat given out by a liquid fuel burner.

The experiment data for burning four fuels A, B, C and D is given below.

Typically, 100 ml (100g) of water is used in the calorimeter to 'collect' the thermal energy ('heat') given out.

The mass of fuel burned and the temperature rise of the water are given.

A relative measure of the thermal energy output of the fuel per unit mass of fuel (relative efficiency) is easily obtained by dividing the temperature rise by the mass of fuel burned.

The most efficient fuel will give the biggest ratio.

Fuel Mass of fuel burned (m) Temperature rise oC (T) T/m Comments
A 1.20 g 24.5 20.4  
B 0.80 g 12.0 15.0 Least efficient fuel
C 1.75 g 28.0 16.0  
D 0.90 g 19.5 21.7 Most efficient fuel

Sections 6. and 7. from Energy Changes in Chemistry give you lots more details on calorimeter experiments. (GCSE chemistry notes)

Keywords, phrases and learning objectives on chemical energy stores

Be able to describe examples of chemical energy stores e.g. fossil fuels and foods including vegetable oils, animal fats and carbohydrates like starch and rice from plant sources and processed carbohydrates like glucose sugar.

All of these are oxidised in some way to release the chemical store energy to e.g. power chemical reactions in cells, power furnace to provide thermal (heat) energy.

Know that batteries, e.g. zinc-carbon, and fuels cells e.g. a hydrogen-oxygen cell are also chemical stores which convert chemical store energy into electrical energy.


Specific notes on types of energy and energy stores and associated calculations

FULL INDEX of Types of energy & stores - examples compared/explained, calculations of mechanical work done & power notes

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 INDEX ENERGY: Types, stores, transfers, energy calculations

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