There are different meanings for the word energy, but it is usually considered as the force of action or work force that causes changes in something, be it matter, organisms, objects, etc.

Energy is a basic element in nature .It moves cars to drive on the highway, makes airplanes fly to take us to our vacation destination, allows us to have light in our home, to watch television and to have our organs work properly.

Different types of energy

Energy can be created, stored or transferred from one place to another or from one object to another in different ways. Here is a list of the different types of energy .

1. Mechanical energy

This type of energy is associated with the movement and position of an object normally in some force field (for example, the gravitational field). It is usually divided into transient and stored.

Transient energy is energy in motion, that is, energy that is transferred from one place to another. Stored energy is the energy contained within a substance or object.

2. Kinetic energy

It is a type of mechanical energy, which is associated with hides that are in motion. If it’s not moving, it has no kinetic energy. It depends on the mass and speed of the body, that is, the heavier a thing is, and the faster it moves, the more kinetic energy it has. It can be transferred from one object to another when the two bodies hit each other. The wind when moving the blades of a windmill is kinetic energy.

3. Potential energy

Potential energy is also a type of mechanical energy , specifically stored energy. To understand the difference between kinetic and potential energy, you can watch the video below.

4. Gravitational energy

It is also important to understand the difference between potential energy and gravitational energy. Every object can have potential energy but gravitational energy is stored only at the height of the object . Every time a heavy object is kept high, a force or power is likely to keep it in balance so that it does not fall.

5. Sound or acoustic energy

Music not only makes us dance, but sound also contains energy. In fact, sound is the movement of energy through substances in longitudinal waves. Sound is produced when a force makes an object or substance vibrate and therefore the energy is transferred through the substance in a wave.

6. Electrical energy

Matter is made up of atoms, which are composed of electrons that are constantly moving . The movement of these electrons depends on the amount of energy it has, which is what I meant by potential energy. Humans can cause these electrons to move from one place to another with special means (materials) called conductors, which transport this energy. However, certain materials cannot carry energy in this form, and are called insulators.

Electrical energy is that caused inside the conductive materials and basically causes three effects: luminous, thermal and magnetic. The electrical energy is the one that reaches our homes and that we can observe when a light bulb is turned on.

7. Thermal energy

Thermal energy is known as the energy that comes from the temperature of matter. The hotter a substance is, the more molecules vibrate and therefore the greater its thermal energy.

To exemplify this kind of energy, let’s imagine a hot cup of tea. Tea has thermal energy in the form of kinetic energy because of its vibrating particles. When some cold milk is poured into the hot tea some of this energy is transferred from the tea to the milk. Then, the cup of tea will be colder because it lost heat energy due to the cold milk. The amount of heat energy in an object is measured in Joules (J) .

You can learn more about mechanical, light and electrical energy in the following video:

8. Chemical energy

Chemical energy is the energy stored in the bonds of chemical compounds (atoms and molecules). It is released in a chemical reaction, often producing heat (exothermic reaction). Batteries, oil, natural gas and coal are examples of stored chemical energy. Normally, once chemical energy is released from a substance, that substance is transformed into a completely new substance.

To go deeper into this type of energy, you can view the audiovisual content shown below:

9. Magnetic energy

It is a type of energy that originates from the energy generated by certain magnets. These magnets create permanent magnetic fields and energy that can be used in different sectors.

10. Nuclear energy

Nuclear energy is energy resulting from nuclear reactions and changes in atomic nuclei or from nuclear reactions. Nuclear fission and nuclear decay are examples of this type of energy.

You can find out how a nuclear power plant works on this video:

11. Radiant energy

Radiant energy, also known as electromagnetic energy, which is possessed by electromagnetic waves. For example, any form of light has electromagnetic energy, including parts of the spectrum that we cannot see. Radio, gamma rays, x-rays, microwaves, and ultraviolet light are other examples of electromagnetic energy.

12. Wind energy

Wind energy is a type of kinetic energy that is obtained from the wind. It is used to produce other types of energy, mainly electrical energy. It is a type of renewable energy, and the main means of obtaining it are “wind mills” that can vary in size.

13. Solar energy

Solar energy is also a type of renewable energy, which is obtained by capturing the light and heat emitted by the Sun. Solar panels are usually used for its re-capture and there are two types of solar energy :

  • Photovoltaic: transforms the sun’s rays into electricity through the use of solar panels.
  • Photothermal: uses heat to make energy thanks to solar collectors
  • Thermoelectric: converts heat into electrical energy indirectly.

14. Hydraulic energy

Again, a type of renewable energy, which possesses gravitational potential energy and, if dropped, also contains kinetic energy, as it uses the movement of water to produce this energy.

15. Light energy

It is the energy transported by light, but should not be confused with radiant energy, since in the latter not all wavelengths carry the same amount of energy . Light energy is capable of tanning or burning our skin, so it can be used, for example, to melt metals.