There are a number of effective renewable energy sources, wind and solar perhaps being the best known. But who would have thought that the lowly brussel sprout would be included in that group?
The Designworks group has built the world’s first Brussels sprout-powered battery and hooked it up to a set of Christmas tree lights in London. After a survey found that most children in the UK would like to take Brussels sprouts off of the traditional Christmas menu, the group came up with the idea for the vegetable-powered tree, coincidentally also helping to promote The Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Fair.
Comprised of five power cells, which are modeled after the appearance of natural Brussels sprouts stalks, each cell is surrounded by 200 sprouts totaling 1,000 Brussels sprouts in the whole battery.The sprouts are each mounted onto copper and zinc electrodes, which triggers a chemical reaction between the electrolytes in each sprout and produces a small current. A capacitor collects and stores the energy from all the sprouts before releasing it to the tree’s lights. A digital display on top of the battery shows how much voltage it is producing in real-time.
Since the battery can only produce about 62 volts and 10mA of current, which is low but still enough to power the tree’s 100 high-efficiency LEDs, the sprouts will need to be exchanged for fresh ones at some point to keep the tree lit over the holidays. Still, it’s a great learning lesson for schoolkids and adults alike and a novel way to use a veggie that many just can’t stand! Happy holidays all.