An electric battery based on boiled potatoes could provide a cheap source of electricity in the developing world, according to the technology transfer company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
The treated potato battery generates energy that is five to 50 times cheaper than commercially available batteries, Yissum Research Development Co. said on Thursday. A light powered by the battery is at least six times more economical than kerosene lamps often used in the developing world.
"The ability to provide electrical power with such simple and natural means could benefit millions of people in the developing word, literally bringing light and telecommunication to their life in areas currently lacking electrical infrastructure," Yaacov Michlin, chief executive of Yissum, said in a statement.
The findings were published in the June issue of the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy.
Haim Rabinowitch and research student Alex Golberg at Israel's Hebrew University jointly with Boris Rubinsky at the University of California at Berkeley discovered a new way to construct an efficient battery using zinc and copper electrodes and a slice of an ordinary potato.
They found that boiling the potato prior to use in electrolysis increased electric power up to 10-fold over the untreated potato and enabled the battery to work for days and even weeks.
Potatoes are produced in 130 countries over a wide range of climates and thus available year round. It is the world's number one non-grain starch food commodity.
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