According to McDonald's Nutrition Calculator page, the following order would contain 2480 kilocalories (or 10376 kilojoules):

  • 1 x Double Bacon Smokehouse Burger
  • 1 x Large Chocolate Shake
  • 1 x Large World Famous Fries®

Would it be possible to somehow extract/convert that energy and use it to power a car engine? If so, what would be the involved chemical processes, equations and byproducts?

Note that this question is entirely motivated by curiosity and by an ingenuous notion of Lavoisier's principle of mass conservation.


You can combust all you have and obtain 10376 kJ (human will obtain less energy, because we are not campfires to burn everything indiscriminately). But, instead, you can be a little bit more smart and combust fats of the same mass, which give 38 kJ per gram (proteins and carbohydrates give less than half of it). This idea allows you to use less fuel for same productivity. Actually, the idea is already widely used - check for biodiesel. Source below gives detailed basic-level insight.

Biodiesel are produced through a simple technology called trans-esterification reaction. Degummed oil free of all forms of impurities is reacted with a reasonable alcohol (ethanol, methanol, butanol etc.).

enter image description here

Citation source:

Biodiesel: Fuel for the Future (A Brief Review). Owolabi R. U., Adejumo A. L., Aderibigbe A. F. International Journal of Energy Engineering 2012; 2(5): 223-231. DOI: 10.5923/j.ijee.20120205.06


Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.