June 20, 2024


Science It Works

Using potatoes to generate electricity

Why Do Some Fruits and Vegetables Conduct Electricity? | Live Science

Since the invention of electricity, several ways electricity can be used have been identified. Currently, we are now so dependent on electricity that it seems that several aspects of our lives are now dependent on electricity. It could easily be concluded that the greatest difference between the stone age and the modern era is the invention of electricity. Should electricity suddenly disappear from the world today, life would go back to the era where we have to do everything manually or almost manually. There would be no cars, planes, computers, phones, television, microwave, blender, and other technological gadgets that have made life easier for us.

After the invention of electricity, research has continued towards finding more ways that electricity could be produced at a price that will be cheaper both to humans and the environment. This is considering that most of the early means of generating electricity were non-renewable and harmful to the environment. Today, various means of renewable energy have been identified including the use of solar and wind. Further research has also shown that it is possible to use potatoes to generate electricity. This article will discuss the steps to follow in using potatoes to generate electricity. This guide can help you to quickly generate electricity if you suddenly find yourself in a blackout either indoors or outdoors and you have some potatoes with you.

Why is a potato able to generate electricity?
Potatoes contain a mixture of salts and starch. As a result, electric current can be conducted through the formation of a salt bridge amidst 2 metals inserted into the potato. This is due to the release of ions by the present in the potato traveling through the connecting wires between both metals. This makes potato a prospective alternative to generating and accessing electricity.

Steps to making a battery out of a potato
You will need a copper coin, galvanized nail, 2 wires, large potato, and a light bulb to begin. First, you would have to an insider the coin and the nail inside the potato. Ensure that both the coin and the nail are as far as possible from each other. This will result in the movement of more ions between both metals leading to a higher voltage. You should then attach a wire’s end to the light bulb’s negative terminal and the second end to the zinc nail. Attach another wire’s end to the bulb’s positive terminal and the copper coin. Once there are plenty of ions in the potato, the bulb will light up.

The working of the potato battery
The zinc atoms produce more electrons, which the atoms in the copper attract. Thus, the electrons transfer to the coin from the nail through a salt bridge that the wires make available. When the bulb is attached to the circuit, ions are passed through the bulb’s positive and negative terminals as they transfer to the copper from the zinc.

The potato battery can also power some other electronics apart from a bulb. Another example is the clock. To power a clock with a potato battery, the process is similar. In this case, you replace the bulb’s positive and negative terminals with that of the clock respectively. You can also test how much voltage your potato battery is generating by connecting the battery to a galvanometer as opposed to a clock or bulb.

A study on potato battery has shown that it is possible potatoes to generate 10 times more electricity when they are boiled for 8 minutes as opposed to when the potato is raw. It was also indicated that a led system of lighting in a room can be powered for about 30 days when a boiled potato is used. The implication is that potatoes could be used to power up remote and underdeveloped areas where access to power grids and electricity generators are limited or not available.