The electrical power of the potato.
You might have tested a potato for it’s electrical potential when you were at school, and while this is a cool experiment most people think that the electrical current in a potato is a novelty.
But it is far more than that, potatoes have so much electrical potential in them that they can light a whole room for a month.
Researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem found that a potato that had been boiled for eight minutes produces 10 times the power of a raw potato. With this information they found that they could power a whole room using LED lights for up to 40 days.
The study found that the cost of powering a room with potatoes cost about one-tenth of the price than it would have done using AA batteries.
They conducted the study with small units made from a quarter-slice of potato sandwiched between a copper cathode and a zinc anode, connected with a wire.
Haim Rabinowitch, the agricultural engineer who lead the study said “Potatoes were chosen because of their availability all over including the tropics and sub-tropics,”.
It is the starch and the acidity levels present in potatoes which make them able to generate electricity. The acid is used to create a chemical reaction which generates the electricity.
Using a copper nail draws electrons out of the potato, up the wire attached to the copper nail and into whatever device the wire is plugged in to.
Other fruits and vegetables such as lemons can also be used to create an electric charge.
While Rabinowitch and his team were hopeful to use their battery to power places without electricity, a follow up of the project reported the team had been met with ‘extenuating circumstances’ which have meant they have not been able to produce the experiment on a large scale, although they still plan to do so.