Zn/Cu-vegetative batteries, bioelectrical characterizations, and primary cost analyses. Developing a cheap, sustainable, and simple to use low power electrical energy source will substantially improve the life quality of 1.6×109 people, comprising 32% of the developing non-Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development populations currently lacking access to electrical infrastructure ( World Energy Outlook, 2006, http://www.worldenergyoutlook.org/2006.asp, 10 September 2009 ). Such a source will provide important needs as lighting, telecommunication, and
information transfer. Our previous studies on Zn/Cu electrolysis in animal tissues revealed a new fundamental bioelectrical property: the galvanic apparent internal impedance (GAII) [ A. Golberg, H. D. Rabinowitch, and B. Rubinsky, Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 389, 168 (2009) ], with potential use for tissue typing. We now report on new fundamental studies on GAII in vegetative matter and on a simple way for significant performance improvement of Zn/Cu-vegetative battery. We show that boiled or irreversible electroporated potato tissues with disrupted cell membranes generate electric power up to tenfold higher than equal galvanic cell made of untreated potato. The study brought about basic engineering data that make possible a systematic design of a Zn/Cu-potato electrolytic battery. The
ability to produce and utilize low power electricity was demonstrated by the construction of a light-emitting diode based system powered by potato cells. Primary cost analyses showed that treated Zn/Cu-potato battery generates portable energy at ∼ 9 USD/kW h, which is 50-fold cheaper than the currently available 1.5 V AA alkaline cell (retail) or D cells (∼ 49–84 USD/kW h). Admittedly very simple, the treated potato or similarly treated other plant tissues could provide an immediate, environmental friendly, and inexpensive solution to many of the low power energy needs in areas of the world lacking access to electrical infrastructure. Authors: Alex Golberg, Haim D. Rabinowitch, Boris Rubinsky. Center for Bioengineering in the Service of Humanity and Society, School of Computer
Science and Engineering, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Robert H. Smith Institute of Plant Science and Genetics in Agriculture, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Department of Mechanical Engineering and Graduate Program in Biophysics, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, California 94720, USA. news from: jrse.aip.org ~ Potatoes, apples, or any other fruit or vegetable containing acid or other electrolyte can be used, but lemons are preferred because of their higher acidity. Other non rusty metal combinations (such as magnesium-copper) are more effective: for example, using a magnesium strip instead of zinc increases the voltage from 1.1 V with zinc to 1.6 V with magnesium. (The exact voltage varies depending on the lemons.) However, zinc and copper are usually preferred because they are reasonably safe and easy to obtain. ~ GoodNews International
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