Potatoes are good for more than just filling up your stomach on the quick; they’re also potential sources of electricity, according to Yissum Research Development Company Ltd. The company, which is an arm of Hebrew University of Jerusalem, has developed a “solid organic electric battery based upon treated potatoes” that is five to fifty times cheaper than commercial 1.5 volt D cells and Energizer e91 cell batteries. The light generated from the potato battery is also at least 6 times more economical than kerosene lamps.
According to researchers working on the project, zinc, copper electrodes, and a slice of potato are all that is necessary to create a working battery. By boiling a potato prior to use, the researchers discovered that they could generate 10 times the power of an untreated potato, enabling the battery to work for weeks at a time.
We probably won’t see potato batteries on store shelves anytime soon, but don’t be surprised if potato-based medical implants find their way into hospitals sometime in the near future.