Taking cues from a 2010 paper published by Israeli and American researchers that showed the benefits of potato-powered batteries in rural areas, a Saudi researcher produced an even more efficient potato cell that could be commercially available within the next year. Professor of physics at King Abdulaziz University, Suliman Abdalla told SciDev.net that he is developing a prototype that is two times more efficient than a standard 1.5V battery, 26 times cheaper, and could provide clean energy for millions of people .
DIY Potato Batteries
Alex Golberg, a contributor to the 2010 paper and a fellow at Harvard Medical School in the United States told SciDev that they were interested in the do-it-yourself component of potato batteries.
For approximately USD9 per kilowatt, it’s possible for just about anyone to build their own cell with rudimentary tools by pressing vegetable matter between zinc and copper.
Its simplicity makes the technology particularly attractive for rural areas that lack access to their national grids.
Abdalla experimented with a variety of vegetables to find out which produced the most efficient charge. He found that potatoes and garlic are most possible and that an 18mm slice of potato produced the most electrical power.
Golberg told SciDev.net that Abdalla’s team of researchers have improved upon the Israeli’s efficiency four fold, which opens the possibility that even further efficiency gains might be reached in the future.
Sri Lankan researchers also considered potato-powered batteries but opted for plantains instead since potatoes are a staple food.
In the meantime, Abdalla has received funding to develop a prototype for potential investors which means Potato-powered batteries from Saudi could be a reality within the next year!
image via jagaimo5092, Morguefile
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