Who needs electric bills when the potato can do the job for a month?
Yes – you read that accurately. With one investigative procedure, a straightforward potato can illuminate a LED globule for a whole month in the event that it’s done accurately.
Haim Rabinovitch, a professor of science and agriculture, attached a classic copper cathode and zinc anode together with a metal wire conductor and let the potato “cook” for eight minutes. That’s when he discovered the charged potato could produce a harnessable form of electricity.
This charge not only ran through the potato, but it had the capability to illuminate an LED lightbulb bright enough to light a room for over 40 days!
The specific compilation of elements with the potato is great for scientific discovery and progress, but it’s also helpful for third-world countries that don’t have the power, money or resources to use electricity and modern-day light bulbs. However, if provided with electronically charged potatoes (and it’s made clear that they’re not for eating), these rural areas could be brightened without spending millions in infrastructure overhauls.
There’s an endless number of possibilities for these light-bearing vegetables, and Professor Haim is just getting started!
Watch the Professor’s technique below:
And here is another version:
How To Make Your Own Potato Battery
How does it work?
Below is an interesting explanation from Finishing.com:
A fruit or vegetable doesn’t exactly produce electricity, it just provides a conductive liquid that completes the circuit.
To take it one step at a time, look at the diagram. As it is shown — fruit or no fruit — the bulb will light because there is a battery and a complete circuit. The current flows from the battery, through the blue wire, through the bulb, through the brown wire, through the left electrode, through the red wire, through the right electrode, and through the green wire back to the battery.
Now, for the second step, if the orange juice is a conductive liquid (electrolyte), which it is, the red wire can be removed and the system will still theoretically work because electricity can flow from the left electrode through the juice to the right electrode, so we still have a complete circuit. I emphasize “theoretically” because liquids do not conduct electricity anywhere near as efficiently as metal, and real flashlight bulbs require a significant amount of electricity; while some very small amount of electricity will flow, unless you have very large electrodes and extremely close spacing it will not actually be enough to light a bulb; it might be able to light an LED (light emitting diode) and surely will be able to turn on an LCD (liquid crystal display).
Next, for the third step, you can remove the battery and connect the loose ends of the blue and green wires together. Now you have a complete circuit, but you don’t have a battery anymore so the light goes out.
Finally, make the electrodes out of two different metals (say copper and zinc) and the lamp will light again (theoretically). This is because two different metals put into a conductive electrolyte actually comprise a battery. In fact, that’s what any battery is: two different metals with a conductive solution between them. So it’s not that the orange “produces” electricity, it is that copper plus zinc plus orange juice as the conductive electrolyte make a battery.
In this case, the acidic juice allows a small amount of zinc and copper to dissolve in solution. But the zinc has a stronger propensity to go into solution so it drives the copper back out of solution. The net result is that copper dissolves from the copper electrode and deposits on the zinc electrode. Copper metal thus moves from the copper electrode to the zinc electrode (eventually completely coating it). Copper, like all metals (and all materials) has electrons. When the copper dissolves into solution it leaves some of its electrons behind on the copper electrode and dissolves into solution as a positively charged ion, but those electrons that don’t travel through the solution with the copper ions, must travel to the zinc electrode through the wire. This movement of electrons is electrical current.
As I said, some of this will be over your head, but that’s as simple as I can make it, and you can absorb what you can from it. Good luck.
In real commercially-sold batteries, the surface area of both metals is very large and placed very close together to maximize the electricity. The actual amount of electricity you will produce is very small and you will probably not be able to find even a penlight bulb that you can light with this little bit of electricity, but light emitting diodes (LEDs) require less electricity, so you may be able to light a very small one. The liquid crystal displays on electronic calculators use even less electricity (almost none) so you will be able to operate that if you can find one and (with a parent or teacher’s help) connect your “orange battery” in place of the built-in battery.