Advantages of Chemical Energy

Advantages of Chemical Energy

Chemical energy is the most ubiquitous form of energy available on Earth. This article is aimed at presenting the advantages of chemical energy which make it the most used power source all over the world.
Our world is powered by the chemical energy released through various reactions. Our bodies use chemical energy released through conversion of ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) into ADP (Adenosine Diphosphate), our vehicles are powered by fuels which derive chemical energy released through combustion reactions and our power plants are kept running by the burning of coal like fuels, leading to generation of electricity. Since ages, every source of energy used by man has had a chemical energy origin.

What is Chemical Energy?

The energy stored in chemical bonds, which can be released through exothermic reactions is called chemical energy. Earth abounding with various types of chemicals, the sources of chemical energy are many, ranging from wood, coal, crude oil to just about any combustible organic material. Depending on the nature of chemical bonds that are broken by a combustion reaction, the amount of chemical energy released through a reaction may vary. Crude oil being made up of a mixture of hydrocarbon compounds, with multiple bonds, is one of the richest sources of chemical energy. The food we consume contains chemical energy that is derived through the process of cellular respiration.

Advantages of Chemical Energy

Chemical energy powers pretty much everything on Earth. Here are the prime advantages of using this form of energy.

It's the Most Copious Energy Source Available
Quite easily, chemical energy sources are the most copiously available sources in the world. Crude oil which is extracted from underlying sedimentary layers of the Earth's crust is currently the most abundant chemical energy source used in the world. Crude oil is created from the chemical conversion of fossilized remains of dead plants and animals under high pressure exerted by layers of the Earth. The dependency of human kind on crude oil is so much, that condition of all world economies is directly affected by fluctuations in crude oil prices. Other abundant chemical energy sources are coal, wood and organic materials like wax.

Chemical Energy Sources are Easily Combustible
Compared to other energy source, chemical energy sources are easily combustible, providing instant energy in the form of heat. All it requires is the availability of an igniting source and air with adequate oxygen content.

High Octane Fuels Provide Substantial Power
The power packed in by high octane fuels derived through refinement of crude oil is substantially high compared to other energy sources, making the attainment of high vehicle speeds possible. The power provided by chemical energy released through combustion induced bond breakage in gasoline, is immense and it is one of the biggest contributing factors to its popularity as a fuel source.

Combustion Efficiency of Chemical Energy Sources is High
Another reason why chemical energy released by combustion of crude oil products is preferred over other sources is its high efficiency. Of course, the efficiency of combustion is dependent on the availability of oxygen and therefore the setup of an automobile engine has a large impact on the efficiency achieved.

I think the three prime factors that have made it the default energy source are easy availability, easy combustibility and high efficiency. Despite the fact that all the source of chemical energy, including wood, coal and crude oil release the highest amount of pollutants, we continue using them because of the lack of an affordable and effective substitute. Renewable energy sources like solar energy, wind energy, tidal energy and geothermal energy, along with fuel cell technology are some other alternatives which we need to switch over to, in order to bring down the impact of greenhouse gases, causing global warming.

Chemical energy dependence can never be entirely done away with but the creation of mechanisms which can use it more efficiently, may go a long way in reversing the damage that air pollution has already inflicted on nature.