A battery is a simple thing but I'm afraid, the concept just doesn't work in my mind. The confusion is basically that whether it stores energy or simply it makes it by converting chemical energy into electrical energy.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Clarify "stores energy": it is stored in the form of chemical energy, which is converted to electrical energy on demand. \$\endgroup\$ – pjc50 Jul 8 '13 at 8:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ It's just like the fuel in your car. Within the molecules of the fuel there is energy bound, which previously was 'used up' when those molecules were forced together. When you give them the chance, e.g. by high temperature, they will break apart and release the energy stored in them in the form of heat and pressure. In a battery the energy stored is released in the form of electricity instead. \$\endgroup\$ – JimmyB Jul 8 '13 at 12:28

A battery is a chemical reaction. A simple cell will produce charge by ion exchange and consume electrode material. A depolarizing chemical in the cell keeps this reaction going. The rate of the chemical reaction is increased by drawing current from it - you alter the equilibrium of the reaction. If you draw current or not the chemical reaction continues and so the cell will have a limited shelf life. Usually the reaction is in one direction only but in rechargeable cells the reaction can be reversed when current is fed into the cell. It doesn't store the charge as such but uses it to reset the chemistry.

Fuel cells consume chemicals (typically hydrogen and oxygen) to produce electricity.

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Your question is a false dichotomy. Batteries do store energy. Batteries also convert chemical energy to electrical energy. Chemical energy is the kind of energy that batteries store, and when that chemical energy is used by allowing the reaction to proceed, electrical energy is the result.

  • \$\begingroup\$ To add further clarification: The battery stores chemical energy, and then converts that form of energy into another form (electrical). All energy can be converted from one form into another, albeit in practice with some loss to other forms of energy (e.g. heat). \$\endgroup\$ – Paddy Landau Jul 8 '13 at 14:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ What does 'Store' mean here? I mean if they take it from somewhere and get it stored for further use or they just have this? \$\endgroup\$ – Syed Sahl Jul 9 '13 at 11:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SyedSahl the unreacted chemicals in the battery had that chemical energy in them before the battery was manufactured. The energy was put there when the chemicals were manufactured, either by Man, if the chemicals were refined from other materials, or by the universe, if they were naturally occurring. In a rechargeable battery, the chemical reaction is reversible, so chemical energy can be added by supplying electrical energy. \$\endgroup\$ – Phil Frost Jul 9 '13 at 12:06

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