Researchers at the Hebrew University have used the enhanced salt bridge capability of treated potato tubers to generate electricity through means readily available in the developing world. Such a source can provide lighting, telecommunication, and information transfer, according to the company.

The new electric battery uses zinc and copper electrodes and a slice of everyday potato. Boiling potato prior to use in electrolysis, is found to increase electric power up to 10 fold over the untreated potato enabling the battery to work for days and even weeks, the company said.

According to Yissum, this is possible through the reduction in the internal salt bridge resistance of the potato battery. The company said that the LEDs powered by treated potato batteries have demonstrated the technology’s ability to produce and utilize low power electricity.

Cost analyses have shown that the energy generated from the treated potato battery is five to 50 folds cheaper than the 1.5V D cells and Energizer E91 cells, respectively.

Yaacov Michlin, CEO of Yissum, said: “The ability to construct efficient vegetative batteries supplies us with a novel way of exploiting bio-energy sources, which are currently primarily used as fuel.

“The ability to provide electrical power with such simple and natural means could benefit millions of people in the developing world, literally bringing light and telecommunication to their life in areas currently lacking electrical infrastructure.”