Electricity from potatoes


Electricity from potatoes

Here’s how to build a home battery with a simple lemon or potato.

Energy from potatoes, how does it work?

We hear talk of lithium batteries, alkaline batteries, etc. All these technologies use the voltaic pile model as their operating mechanism. The principle is simple: two metals come into contact through a liquid called an “electrolyte”. The electrolytic solution contains the charges that with their movement originate the electric current.

The two metal elements, called electrodes, are connected to each other by a conducting wire while the metal component is immersed in the electrolytic solution triggering a current flow. In this experiment the potato will represent the electrolytic solution. We therefore need two electrodes to allow the passage of current between two metals by means of an electrolytic solution.

That’s all it takes to build a home battery.

  • Potato -> electrolyte
  • Two aluminum bars -> negative electrode
  • Two copper bar -> positive electrode
  • Copper wires -> for connection
  • A voltmeter -> will be used to detect the electrical current produced, alternatively you can use a small electrical device to be powered

How to proceed

  • Take the potato and split it in half.
  • Connect two electrodes (one positive and the other negative) with the copper wire.
  • Connect the other two electrodes (one positive and the other negative) to the voltmeter or alarm to be powered.
  • Make sure to insert the two electrodes well into the vegetable sections

The electrode-related potato works like a real pile. The copper metal rod acts as a cathode while the aluminum one acts as an anode. The potato juice behaves like an electrolytic solution and allows the flow of electrons which, moving from the cathode to the anode, produce electricity.


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