Boiled potatoes are known for being part of a healthy meal. Now, a group of Israeli researchers believe they make good batteries as well. Batteries create electricity through a chemical reaction between 2 different electrodes and one electrolyte.
A team from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem say their update on the humble potato battery could be an important energy source across the third world.
Since the 19th century, it has been known that inserting zinc and copper electrodes into a potato sees the vegetable act as an electrolyte and produce a current. A simple twist on the technique has remarkable results.
By boiling, the research team reduced the internal resistance of the potato battery and that way they were able to generate 10 times more energy than the regular potato battery. Boiling the potatoes first increases the output to nearly half that of a commercial double A battery. Works for days or even weeks.
Grown in more than hundred countries, potatoes are cheap and with a long shelf-life can be stored without putting them in the refrigerator. According to the research team, all these qualities of the potatoes make them an ideal energy source. These findings can benefit millions of people.
After discovering this, researchers believe it will become distributed in many countries, for many people and provide them with essentials that people in the developed world take for granted.
Researchers add up that the boiled potato battery produces electricity between five and fifty times cheaper that its commercial equivalent. This is at least six times more economical than kerosene lamps used the world over.
However, remember that the potato is not the energy source, but it connects the two metals and helps electrons flow to produce electricity.