Sunday, June 20, 2010

Israeli Scientists Develop Potato Batteries - What Will They Do With Potato Kugel?

Last Thursday, Haaretz reported that Israeli scientists have developed a battery based on boiled potatoes that could bring cheap electricity to developing countries.

According to the article,
An electric battery based on boiled potatoes could provide a cheap source of electricity in the developing world, according to the technology transfer company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. 
The treated potato battery generates energy that is five to 50 times cheaper than commercially available batteries, Yissum Research Development Co. said on Thursday. A light powered by the battery is at least six times more economical than kerosene lamps often used in the developing world.
This doesn't exactly sound like rocket science.  After all, in elementary schools everywhere, children are sticking nails and copper wires into potatoes to produce electricity as science fair projects.  So what's the big deal?

Apparently the innovation here is the use of BOILED potatoes.  Boiling the potato prior to use in electrolysis increased electric power up to 10-fold over the untreated potato and enabled the battery to work for days and even weeks. 

This news has been picked up by many Jewish news outlets, including Vos Iz Neias, an Orthodox Jewish blog with lots of comments from its readers.  References to the potential in using potato kugel as the source for electricity were certainly expected, but the outpouring of suggestions deserves to be reproduced here for your enjoyment.  Here are some of them:
C'mon! We did this in tenth grade. Take a strip of copper and a strip of zinc. Stick them in a potato (or an orange, or a squash, or a tomato, you get the idea) and, voila! about a 1/4 volt battery. Put 50 potatoes in series and you have a twelve volt battery. Won't start your car, though. Not enough current capacity. This is the cutting edge of Israeli technology?
Who wants to drive an automobile with a trunk full of potatoes ?
This is one of the oldest high school science experiments around. The only difference is that in high school we used a raw potato and these geniuses figured out that cooking it is better. I bet you that the amount of energy used to cook the potato far outweighs the energy you get back from the potato.
Big deal. I've been running all the appliances in my house for years from electricity I generate from Shabbes leftovers.
I always knew that the Cholent with all those potatoes were causing an electrical disturbance inside of me!
No wonder I get heartburn from potato kugel....
Now Rabanim will ban potatoes on Shabbos. I knew these things produced gas on weekends but electricity?
Now the price of potatoes will quadruple just like the price of corn, when they discovered that you could use it to make ethanol. Chulent and potato Kugel may become a luxury.
This has nothing on my spicy bean cholent gas powered turbine engine !!! It generates enough gas to power a F-15 from NY to LA in 3 hours !!!
And everyone can use them because they contain no gebrokts.
(Photo by Business Wire) 

1 comment:

  1. This is interesting. we now have another use for the much milined potato.