In the reaction of H2(g) + O2(g) --> H2O(g) (for example), the H2 doesn't have sufficient energy to overcome the AE to break apart into H+ ions and form H2O molelcules, so a spark is required. In the case of oxygen breaking apart into O2- ions, I'm guessing it does so just to react with the H+ ions because oxygen would rather bond to the hydrogen than be bonded to itself. Is all of this correct, and where is all of the energy being released here? If I had to venture a guess, it would be whenever the water molecule is formed, but I still don't quite understand. to me (a novice) it seems that water would have more potential energy than both the H2 and O2 seeing as the bond is stronger, so more energy would be released in the reverse reaction. Sorry if this seems silly but I'm new at this lol.