It might surprise you to learn that potatoes can make a clock run. No, they can’t mend them, at least not that I’m aware of; they can only power them. If they can supply energy to the human body, then they might be able to do the same for everything that needs electricity.
It may seem strange to create energy from something like potatoes, but it is feasible, as shown in this potato electricity experiment. Well, many individuals are generating green electricity from potatoes to power small devices like clocks and lightbulbs.
We are all aware that scientists are working hard to identify alternative energy sources that can provide power without using thermal or nuclear energy. This will both protect the planet from the harmful effects of pollution and lower the expenses associated with using electricity.
People are experimenting with new techniques, some of which are even producing excellent results. We have a serious problem on our hands, so we need to keep looking for alternatives to traditional energy sources.
The voltage of potato power that we currently have is not any better than that of a typical torch cell, but the underlying idea can be very helpful in the future creation of batteries that are more effective.
In order to provide energy to people cut off from electricity grids, researcher Rabinowitch and colleagues have been promoting the concept of “potato power” over the past few years.
They assert that by connecting a potato to some inexpensive metal plates, wiring, and LED bulbs, it is possible to illuminate undeveloped areas of the world. They’ve also figured out a straightforward yet clever way to improve the energy-producing capacity of potatoes.
Table of Contents
Do Potatoes Actually Generate Electricity?
The potato serves as an electrolyte or a buffer rather than creating electricity. As a result, it creates a full circuit by separating zinc and copper, forcing the electrons to move through the potato.
A little amount of potato energy or electrical energy is produced by consuming just two potatoes. Increased output power can be achieved by adding more potatoes. Even if the two metals were in direct contact without the potato, electrons would still move, but no electricity would be generated because the circuit is still not complete.
How Long Can a Potato Power a Light bulb?
According to Rabinowitch, a researcher at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, one potato may run enough LED bulbs for a room for 40 days.
How Much Electricity Can a Potato Generate?
Only 1.2 volts of electricity may be generated by a potato battery. According to Takhistov, in order to generate enough current to charge a gadget like a phone or a tablet, numerous potato batteries would need to be connected in parallel.
The Potato Electricity Experiment: Material and Steps
An electrochemical cell that is simple to construct is a potato battery. It is an electrochemical battery that, through the instantaneous flow of electrons, transforms the chemical energy between the two metal electrodes or probes into electrical energy.
The presence of starch fluids and electrodes in potatoes, which enable the potato to function as a battery, can be used to explain the potato battery. Copper and zinc are the metals that are employed in this, and they react with one another to create chemical energy.
Supplies needed to assemble a potato battery:
- At least two potatoes if you want to produce more electricity.
- Two screws with a zinc or galvanized finish.
- Three wires made of copper.
- Two tiny pennies, or alligator clips, if they are available.
- A tiny 3mm LED
- Voltmeters or multimeters (optional).
How to Make a Potato Battery
1. Compile the required supplies
A potato, a galvanized nail, a copper coin, two alligator clips, and a voltmeter are required to build one potato battery.
- Standard nails with a zinc coating are known as galvanized nails. Any hardware or home improvement store will sell them.
- Use a fresh potato because the experiment relies on the potato’s internal juices.
2. Place the galvanized nail close to the potato’s center
Till it almost reaches the other side and drives the nail into the potato. Some potato juice will come out at this phase, but that’s normal. If you push it all the way through, just pull it back until it no longer protrudes from the other end. Use newspaper or plastic wrap to protect your work surface from potato juice spills.
3. Approximately an inch away from the galvanized nail, insert the copper coin into the potato
With the copper coin, repeat the previous step. Make sure the potato’s nails are not in contact with one another. They must not touch for the circuit to be complete and for the battery to create voltage.
- The distance between the nails doesn’t have to be exactly one inch, but you want them to be close together.
- If the nails do end up touching, simply reposition them so they are no longer touching.
4. Attach one clip to one of the voltmeter’s leads and the copper coin
There should be a black lead and a red lead on the voltmeter. Using the alligator clips, attach the copper coin to the red lead of the voltmeter. Rather than black and red leads, some voltmeters have black and yellow leads. Use the yellow lead in this instance for this step.
5. Attach the second clip to the galvanized nail and the voltmeter’s final lead.
The black lead of the voltmeter should be attached to the galvanized nail. Ensure that the lead and the nail on the alligator clip are both firmly fastened.
6. Verify the voltmeter’s reading.
The voltage should slightly rise on the voltmeter. The voltmeter can be showing a negative reading, as you can see. If so, simply flip the clips on the voltmeter leads, and the voltage should shift to positive. Move the nails closer together if the voltage is very low. Make sure they are not touching the potato once more.
How to Run a Clock on Several Potato Batteries
1. Compile all of your materials
Two galvanized nails, two copper coins, two potatoes, three alligator clip leads with clips on both ends, and a small clock is all required to build a potato battery.
- For this experiment, galvanized nails—regular nails with a zinc coating—are required. A typical hardware or home improvement store should have these.
- If necessary, copper coins can also be purchased at a neighborhood hardware or home improvement store.
- As long as your alligator clip leads have clips on both ends, it doesn’t matter what color they are.
- Use potatoes that are fresh and firm. Dry potatoes won’t function in this experiment since the moisture in the potatoes is required.
- Before you start, remove the clock’s battery.
2. Drive a galvanized nail through the center of each potato
Put the nail into the potato with forceful pressure, almost to the opposite side. Don’t worry if you unintentionally push it all the way through. Simply pull the nail back until it is completely hidden.
- While doing this, some potato juice may come out, but it won’t have an impact on the experiment.
- Cover your work surface with newspaper or a plastic bag to make cleanup easy afterward.
3. Insert a copper coin into each potato, spacing it out from the galvanized nail by about an inch
Make sure the copper coin does not touch the galvanized nail as you repeat the previous step.
- Each potato should now have a copper coin and a galvanized nail placed into it approximately an inch apart.
- You merely want the nails to be close together but not touch. The precise spacing between the nails is not crucial.
4. Use one alligator clip lead to join the two potatoes together
Attach one clip to the first potato’s galvanized nail, and the other to the second potato’s copper coin. This will complete the battery’s circuit.
- The two potatoes should then be fastened to the clock and each other after completing this stage.
- Double-check that each of your clips is firmly fastened.
5. Connect one clip lead to the copper coin and the other to the battery box’s positive side
Find the (+) indication on one of the sides of the battery box by taking a look at it. Attach the wire’s end with a clip to the positive side. Affix the other end of the copper coin to the first potato by taking the other end.
- Make sure the clip is firmly fastened to the nail and battery box.
- This establishes the initial link in the battery’s circuit.
6. Connect the second clip lead to the negative side of the battery box and the galvanized nail in the second potato
There will be a (-) indication on the battery box’s opposite side. Onto this negative end, clip a fresh lead. Attach the other end of the lead to the second potato’s galvanized nail. Once more, be sure to securely clip the leads on.
At this stage, each potato ought to be connected to the clock but not to the others. One potato should have a wire attached to the copper coin, while the other should have a wire attached to the galvanized nail.
7. Verify that the clock is functioning
The clock’s second hand ought to be moving at this moment. The potato battery is its sole source of energy. Make sure the correct leads are connected to the battery box if the clock isn’t operating. The negative terminal must have the galvanized nail, and the positive terminal must have the copper coin.
- Try flipping the leads and see if that helps.
- When you’re done, disconnect the leads that link the potatoes and reconnect the battery, and confirm that you are using just fresh potatoes.
It’s quite shocking that we can get some sustainable amount of electricity from potatoes but we should note that the amount of energy produced is not much and so if we are to generate electricity for a full household or even a community.
we would need a considerable amount of potatoes which might not be sustainable and so, generating electricity from potatoes just gives us a view that we can move away from fossil fuel energy by exploring other sources of electricity.
A passion-driven environmentalist by heart. Lead content writer at EnvironmentGo.
I strive to educate the public about the environment and its problems.
It has always been about nature, we ought to protect not destroy.