Scientists at Hebrew University are revisiting the use of potatoes as a source of energy, with their new Potato-Powered Battery. The success of these batteries could be utilized to provide power sources to areas where there is still no electrical infrastructure available.
A slice of ordinary potato contains zinc and copper electrodes that, when boiled, can be increased to 10 times more electrical power capacity than non-boiled potatoes. The “Salt Bridge Capacity” of a potato is very similar to that of a battery.
In a demonstration, scientists showed the use of these “Potato Batteries” to power LEDs, and believe they are a potentially affordable and greener resource for bringing power to those who cannot access a power-grid.
Traditional battery cells have proven to cost 5 to 50 times more to produce than a potato battery cell, making them significantly more affordable (aside from being a greener solution). Though potatoes are not the only vegetable found to be easily modified through electrolysis, they have proven to be the most readily available and affordable option.