By Ross Brooks
on November 27, 2013 in

Brussel Sprout-Powered Battery Gives A Second Life To The Oft-Detested Vegetable

Eight foot christmas tree full of LED lights is powered by one of the world’s least favorite vegetables

Brussels sprouts have always had a bad reputation, especially amongst children – but London’s Southbank Center is trying to demonstrate their hidden power this year with a Christmas tree powered entirely by the little green vegetables. The vegetable-powered battery was created by scientists from The Big Bang UK Young Scientists and Engineers Fair, which uses over 1,000 brussels sprouts to keep the tree lit.

Five power cells make up the battery system, each of which contains 200 little sprouts covered in copper and zinc electrodes that create a chemical reaction using the vegetable’s natural electrolytes. The 63 volts of electricity produced by the device is more than enough to illuminate the strands of LED lights hanging on the tree. Even though getting kids near brussels sprouts can be be a challenge, the eight foot sustainably-powered tree came to life on Tuesday morning when some children from the City of London Academy flipped the switch.

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Paul Jackson, the CEO of EngineeringUK, which runs The Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Fair, said:

We want young people to think about STEM subjects in an interesting way and are always looking for different ways to do that. It being the festive time of year – and kids’ dislike of sprouts being well documented – using them to create a battery seemed like a unique way to achieve that aim.

The power produced by each brussels sprout is monitored on a separate display and stored until the sun goes down and it’s time to turn on the 100 LED lights. It’s possible for any fruit or vegetable to be used in the battery, but sprouts were chosen for their appearance, and the fact they could use a little bit of publicity. The first 1,000 vegetables are expected to power the tree’s lights for a month, after which new one will be added to keep the tree illuminated throughout the holiday season.

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The Big Bang UK Young Scientists and Engineers Fair

Source: Inhabitat

Images: The Big Bang UK Young Scientists and Engineers Fair

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