Yissum Research Development Company Ltd, the technology transfer arm of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, has come up with a solid organic electric battery based upon treated potatoes.
The findings have been published in the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy.
This cheap, easy-to-use green power source could substantially improve the quality of life of 1.6 billion people, comprising 32 per cent of the developing non-OECD populations, currently lacking access to electrical infrastructure.
Professor Haim Rabinowitch from the Robert H Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment and research student Alex Golberg from the School of Computer Science and Engineering at the HebrewUniversity, jointly with Prof Boris Rubinsky at the University of California at Berkeley, study the electrolytic process in living matter for use in various applications. In their research, they discovered a new way to construct an efficient battery using zinc and copper electrodes and a slice of your everyday potato. The scientists discovered that the simple action of boiling the potato prior to use in electrolysis, increases electric power up to 10 fold over the untreated potato and enables the battery to work for days and even weeks.
Cost analyses showed that the treated potato battery generates energy, which is five to 50 folds cheaper than commercially available 1.5 Volt D cells and Energizer E91 cells, respectively.
The clean light powered by this green battery is also at least six times more economical than kerosene lamps often used in the developing world.
Yissum has made this technology freely available to economically disadvantaged parts of the world.
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