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Earth Power Hardware

Potato-Powered Batteries Debut 284

Posted by kdawson
from the energizer-tuber dept.
MojoKid writes "Yissum Research Development Company Ltd., the technology transfer arm of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, has just introduced what it's calling 'solid organic electric battery based upon treated potatoes.' In short, it's a potato-powered battery, and it's as real as you're hoping it is. The simple, sustainable, robust device can potentially provide an immediate inexpensive solution to electricity needs in parts of the world lacking electrical infrastructure. Researchers at the Hebrew University discovered that the enhanced salt bridge capability of treated potato tubers can generate electricity through means readily available in developing nations."
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Potato-Powered Batteries Debut

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  • food (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 19, 2010 @10:48PM (#32629560)

    Or they could just eat them...

  • Re:Puff piece (Score:3, Insightful)

    by shabtai87 (1715592) on Saturday June 19, 2010 @10:56PM (#32629588)

    I'm sure there's a significant way this differs from 50% of 4th grade science projects...

  • Re:Great (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 19, 2010 @11:03PM (#32629628)

    They did, and right now the oil is killing all of our food :{

  • !story (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 19, 2010 @11:09PM (#32629648)

    As has already been pointed out, these are copper and zinc powered batteries.

    There should be a Slashdot feature where if enough people flag an article, it gets relocated off the front page.

    And don't even get me started on whoever let this get the "story" tag.

  • Re:Puff piece (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Zouden (232738) on Saturday June 19, 2010 @11:18PM (#32629680)

    Indeed. This article is painfully embarrassing.

    This cheap, easy to use green power source could substantially improve the quality of life of 1.6 billion people

    Yep... 1.6 billion people are going to boil potatoes and place them between sheets of copper and zinc in order to light an LED []. Who writes this stuff?

    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.

    Boiled potatoes sitting around for weeks. It's a revolution!

  • Lemon Battery (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 19, 2010 @11:25PM (#32629718)

    I guess this company will invent the "Lemon battery" next. It's an upgrade that provides even more power!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 19, 2010 @11:39PM (#32629768)

    They're trying to saturate the media with weird battery stories so that nobody notices them announcing that the country is switching over to electricity generated from the tears of Palestinian children. You didn't think they made Gaza into an open-air prison *just* because they're Nazis, did you?

  • Re:food (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nursie (632944) on Saturday June 19, 2010 @11:45PM (#32629782)

    NEWSFLASH - not everyone in developing nation is starving and short of food. For some, an alternative power source such as this is appropriate.

  • Ooooorrr.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by arielCo (995647) on Saturday June 19, 2010 @11:51PM (#32629804)

    If you want energy, you could ferment them tatties, distill good 'ol CH3CH2OH and burn it. You might get more watt-hours/spud this way and there'd be no electrodes to replace.

    Now, if you actually need small, cheaply refillable batteries for portable devices, this would be nice provided the electrodes don't wear out too much.

  • Re:Puff piece (Score:3, Insightful)

    by afidel (530433) on Saturday June 19, 2010 @11:53PM (#32629814)
    Compared to burning kerosene for days or weeks? I'm thinking yeah, that's probably more energy efficient.
  • Re:food (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bennomatic (691188) on Saturday June 19, 2010 @11:54PM (#32629820) Homepage
    THANK YOU. That sort of mentality disgusts me. I stayed at a place in Belize near the Guatemalan border once, and that place is third world by anyone's definition. And walking down the streets you had to dodge the chickens and keep an eye out for falling mangoes. I'm sure that if they had a way to power their cell phone towers with mangoes and chickens (and other plentiful items, they'd be thrilled to do so.
  • Re:Great (Score:5, Insightful)

    by belmolis (702863) <billposer@alum.[ ].edu ['mit' in gap]> on Saturday June 19, 2010 @11:57PM (#32629834) Homepage

    What you say would be true only if potato production were limited to current levels and if there were no surplus. In fact, potato production could be increased to accommodate use for batteries, and in any case th ere is actually a surplus. Total world food production is adequate - the reason that some people starve is poor distribution of the available food, in considerable part due to political reasons. (Starvation in North Korea, for example, is the result of the incompetence of the country's government.)

  • by ChromeAeonium (1026952) on Sunday June 20, 2010 @12:13AM (#32629902)

    Possibly because solar power is pretty big in Israel, so high tech batteries are in their best interest. And, just some baseless postulating here, but when you're surrounded by neighbors who don't much care for you whose biggest asset is oil, improving those alternative energy techniques might be a good idea. If Israel perfected solar power & storage, that could conceivably go a ways towards helping the world kick it's oil habit (solar powered batteries for your house and car), which would cut into the cashflow of said neighbors. So, batteries are good for them, and there is a chance that maybe possibly we're seeing some sort of scientific-economic-political strategy at work here.

  • Re:food (Score:5, Insightful)

    by billcopc (196330) <> on Sunday June 20, 2010 @01:06AM (#32630064) Homepage

    Hell, many of them probably eat better than we do... less reliance on hyper-processed junk.

  • Re:Puff piece (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sir_Lewk (967686) <> on Sunday June 20, 2010 @01:08AM (#32630068)

    You know, I can put up with a lot of idiocy before I start to suspect malice, but this has gone too far. A potato battery article on slashdot, "news for nerds"? Kdawson is officially a troll.

  • Re:Puff piece (Score:3, Insightful)

    by masterwit (1800118) * on Sunday June 20, 2010 @01:42AM (#32630158) Journal

    Kdawson is officially a troll.

    This should be modded insightful not funny.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 20, 2010 @01:46AM (#32630174)

    Not so ironic. Elite Jews financed a large part of the Nazi regime. Kill off their poor, get world sympathy, voila! Instant "homeland" stolen from the natives.. The Zionists are criminals.. of the worst kind. They have quite a head start on worldwide terrorism..

  • Re:food (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@ g m a i> on Sunday June 20, 2010 @10:25AM (#32631920) Journal

    But in that case wouldn't wind, solar, hell even a hand crank, be a better solution? I just don't see getting enough power from spuds to make this a very viable long term solution to anything. Maybe if they had figured out how to get power from rotting or otherwise useless food waste, that I could see, but this strikes me more like the stupid corn ethanol "green power" which is basically a back handed subsidy for corn growers.

    As the populations of the world increase probably the LAST thing we will want to use for power is edible food, especially when there are non edible sources such as wind and solar that really isn't hard to harvest.

  • by JaCKeL 1.0 (670980) on Sunday June 20, 2010 @11:01AM (#32632172)
    Once you start buying food to make energy for a car or a home, food price skyrocket and developing nations only get poorer.
  • Re:Chips? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 20, 2010 @11:30AM (#32632362)

    So does this mean we will be able to have our chips powered by chips?

    No, it means the end of Freedom Fries!

    Only if Apple adopts the technology.

  • Bulllllllllshit! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Fantastic Lad (198284) on Sunday June 20, 2010 @12:02PM (#32632608)

    So, batteries are good for them, and there is a chance that maybe possibly we're seeing some sort of scientific-economic-political strategy at work here.


    The "Yissum Research Development Company Ltd." trying to sell this turd has come up with a way to turn a food source into a power source. Except, it doesn't work because. . .

    1. The power comes from oxidization of metal and needn't involve potatoes at all. It could just as well be cow dung. Or a cup of salt water.
    2. The potatoes need to be boiled first, so there's a huge amount of energy already being spent/wasted.
    3. Potatoes rot and thus any power system would be saddled with ridiculous limitations in terms of maintenance, portability, and time constraints.
    4. We already have wind-up radios and solar solar powered devices. Conventional electronics still wouldn't work, because you can't plug potatoes into them, so you'd need extra gear just to use the craptastic consumer-level garbage devices which don't even last in suburbia for more than a year. It makes a lot more sense to use electronics specifically designed for harsh environments.

    But the thing which makes this sick is that the scientists who came up with this potato thing are not stupid. They know all these problems exist, which begs the question; what is their real aim?

    It sure isn't to create great battery technology so as to stymie their oil-rich neighbors. It's probably an attempt to generate some positive media spin for their university and by extension Israel, (green is good and people are too stupid to realize when they are being manipulated through media!) -That, combined with some underlying psychopathic desire to sell a bad bill of goods to people who are already hurting.

    Yeah. So, thanks, Israel. If you wanted to make sure underprivileged people have electricity, perhaps you should NOT bomb their infrastructure while saying, "Look what you made me do with the bottle rockets our own Mossad organized you into firing at us so we could have an excuse to steal your land!"

    Psychopaths blame the victims for their own crimes. That's the pattern. Look for it.

    Anybody disagreeing with me simply hasn't done the research or is evil.


  • Re:food (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kheldan (1460303) on Sunday June 20, 2010 @12:13PM (#32632672) Journal
    Precisely. Isn't the #1 problem in "developing 3rd world countries" there being enough food to go around, not electricity? I know the human machine isn't very efficient, but I'd think that the value of the caloric energy derived from eating the potato would be more valuable to them than any electricity you could get from it.
  • Re:food (Score:3, Insightful)

    by westlake (615356) on Sunday June 20, 2010 @08:50PM (#32636046)

    NEWSFLASH - not everyone in developing nation is starving and short of food.

    That's true.

    But in a hot climate how long will it be before the boiled potato rots?

The first Rotarian was the first man to call John the Baptist "Jack." -- H.L. Mencken