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Sunday, June 20, 2010

The potato battery: Israel saving the world, again

From Engadget:
Researchers in Jerusalem have just announced they've developed super simple, sustainable, organic electric batteries which are powered by treated potatoes. Their findings have just been published in the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy, and detail uses of the batteries in the developing world where infrastructure is lacking. The apparently highly efficient battery is made from zinc and copper electrodes and a potato slice which has been boiled. The act of boiling the potato increased the electric power around 10 fold in comparison to an untreated potato, giving it power for days, and sometimes weeks depending on the conditions. The potato batteries are also, of course, way cheaper than regular commercial cells. The technology has officially been made available free of charge to the developing world.
Not only that, but "Electric Potato" would be a great name for a '60s cover band.

The press release from Yissum Research Development Company also mentions:

Cost analyses showed that the treated potato battery generates energy, which is five to 50 folds cheaper than commercially available 1.5 Volt D cells and Energizer E91 cells, respectively. The clean light powered by this green battery is also at least 6 times more economical than kerosene lamps often used in the developing world.
Thus, the boiled potato or other similarly treated vegetables could provide an immediate, environmental friendly and inexpensive solution to many of the low power energy needs in areas of the world lacking access to electrical infrastructure. The long-keeping humble potatoes in particular are a good energy source since they are produced in 130 countries over a wide range of climates, from temperate zones to the subtropics- more than any other crop worldwide, but corn, and thus available year round almost anywhere.

(h/t LGF)