Adenosine triphosphate, or abbreviated ATP, is a universal source of energy for all biochemical processes occurring in living systems, in particular for the formation of enzymes on our planet, but what analogues of ATP could be used by alien organisms and are there any alternatives to it that could produce less energy than adenosine triphosphate?

  • $\begingroup$ Quick. Someone say something about Fluorine! $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    May 31 at 11:14
  • $\begingroup$ what does fluorine have to do with it, can it be used by aliens as atp? $\endgroup$ May 31 at 13:16
  • $\begingroup$ No clue. But there are a bunch of people here lately who just love to talk about fluorine! $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    May 31 at 13:16
  • $\begingroup$ we'll get to that later $\endgroup$ May 31 at 13:32
  • $\begingroup$ You can use just about any molecule to transfer energy, as long as you can get the energy out of it. $\endgroup$
    – Topcode
    May 31 at 14:04

1 Answer 1


Why do you care? Say somebody says you can use HTC handwavium tricarbonate. Now what? Any specific answer is going to be pure speculation.

A partial list of analogues of ATP could fill text books. its listed as $C_{10}H_{16}N_{5}O_{13}P_3$. Does not take much modifications to have a really big problem space.

Probably best to not name it at all beyond "their version of ATP" or AEM (alien energy molecule) or something else descriptive, yet vague.

In story:

One of the interesting things of life forms of planet Some-name is that they don't use ATP. Their version of ATP delivers less energy per molecule which impacts...


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