Potatoes May Power The Batteries Of The Future
Friday, June 18, 2010 - by Ray Willington
Oh, batteries. Can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em. It sounds like a power ballad, but it's the story of our lives around here. We've been dealing with lofty promises and batteries that kick the bucket far too early, for years now. And the fact that we're still dealing with lead-acid batteries is sort of a baffling thing to wrap one's mind around. But all of that just might be changing. We won't get our hopes too high until fuel cells become the viable alternative that we have been told that they are, but we strangely have more faith in a vegetable than a science lab to revolutionize the battery.
A vegetable? Yes, indeed. Yissum Research Development Company Ltd., the technology transfer arm of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, has just introduced what they're calling "solid organic electric battery based upon treated potatoes." In short, it's a potato powered battery, and it's as real as you're hoping it is. The simple, sustainable, robust device can potentially provide an immediate inexpensive solution to electricity needs in parts of the world lacking electrical infrastructure, but we're hoping that it can work a similar amount of magic for developed nations as well.
Researchers at the Hebrew University discovered that the enhanced salt bridge capability of treated potato tubers can generate electricity through means readily available in the developing world. This cheap, easy to use green power source could substantially improve the quality of life of 1.6 billion people, comprising 32% of the developing non-OECD populations, currently lacking access to electrical infrastructure. Such a source can provide important needs, such as lighting, telecommunication, and information transfer.
The technical details are below, but here's all you really need to know: potatoes may be a battery of the future and it's a significant advancement that we all can be...
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