Nuclear Power Plant Isar, Germany

Spent nuclear fuel pool

Turbine of a nuclear plant

Types of Energy and Examples

Types of energy and examples

There are different ways to classify different types of energy. The main types are as follows:

  • Nuclear energy. It is obtained from the energy contained within the nuclei of the atoms.
  • Mechanical energy. It includes two types of energy: potential and kinetic. It depends on the position and speed of a body.
  • Thermodynamics. This type refers to the internal energy of a thermodynamic system.
  • Electromagnetic.
  • Electric power. Related to the movement of electrons in a conductor.
  • Magnetic. Magnetic energy is the energy that is generated in a magnetic field.
  • Sonora. Sound energy is related to sound and its propagation by waves.
  • Chemistry. It is stored in the bonds of chemical compounds.

Energy can come in various forms. These shapes can be transformed into each other. It is the principle of conservation of energy.

There are different types of energy depending on their effects and also on their origin.

Depending on the origin of the energy sources we distinguish the following types:

  • Renewable energy. Its energy source is unlimited. For example wind energy or solar energy.
  • Nonrenewable energy. Limited energy source. Coal, oil, natural gas, etc.

Nuclear Energy

Nuclear energy is the chemical energy that holds the nucleus subparticles of an atom together. Protons and neutrons.

Types of energy and examplesThe mass of an atomic nucleus is less than the sum of the masses of the elementary particles that make it up (mass defect). This mass defect is due to the appearance of a cohesion energy absorbed by the nuclear structure and which can be calculated using Einstein's theory of relativity.

The forces that hold the atomic nuclei together possess a large amount of energy. Nuclear reactors are capable of releasing this energy through a chemical reaction.


Mechanical Energy

Mechanical energy is due to the geometric and dynamic variables of the system, from a macroscopic point of view, and is the one that responds to the simplest mathematical scheme.

There are two types of mechanical energy:

  • Kinetic energy. It is associated with movement.
  • Potential energy. It is associated with your position. 

The definition of mechanical energy in a material body is the sum of its kinetic and potential energies. Kinetic energy is proportional to the speed of the body. Potential energy depends on the body's position in the force field around it. If this force is gravity it is called gravitational potential energy.


  • The speed of a car (kinetic)
  • Water at the highest point of a waterfall (potential).
  • The turn of a mill (kinetics).

Thermodynamic Energy

Thermodynamic energy is the manifestation of energy in the form of heat. It makes sense from a molecular point of view.

The internal energy U of a system as the sum of the kinetic energies of the molecules that compose it and the potential energy of the forces between them.

Each one of the atoms or molecules of a body or of a substance are in continuous movement, either in rotation, translation or vibration, with respect to the equilibrium position, more or less intense depending on the temperature.

From this point of view we can say that thermal energy is equivalent to the kinetic energy of molecules, as formulated by L. Boltzmann in his kinetic theory of gases.

Internal energy is not an absolutely measurable quantity, but only energy variations between two states of the system are measured (first principle of thermodynamics).


Electromagnetic Energy

Electromagnetic energy: it is the energy derived from the electromagnetic nature of matter.

Electromagnetic energy basically manifests itself in two ways: 

  1. Transforming into kinetic energy of the electrical charges that are in its area of ​​influence. This energy can be converted into heat (Joule effect) or mechanical energy. For example, electric motors.
  2. Propagating as radiant energy out of the medium where it has been generated in the form of electromagnetic waves. The waves can then be converted into light energy, etc.

An electromagnetic field is a physical field produced by electrically charged elements. This field affects electrically charged particles.


  • Solar radiation.
  • Kitchen microwave.
  • Optical instruments.
  • Ultrasound equipment.

Electric Power

Electric energy is energy that is transmitted as electrical work by an electric current in a circuit. As a concept it can refer to several closely related forms of energy:

  • Energy in the electric field.
  • Potential electric charge energy.
  • Electric current energy.


  • Photovoltaic Solar Energy.
  • Electric generator.
  • High-voltage network.

Published: May 14, 2020
Last review: May 14, 2020