What do you do with the sprouts nobody wanted to eat? Now we have a new answer: Wait a few weeks, then use them to power your Christmas tree:
That, at least, appears to be the message from a new project installed on the South Bank of the Thames in London on behalf of the the Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Fair: the world’s first battery made entirely of Brussels sprouts. Some 1,000 of the green veggies are being used to light 100 LEDs on an 8-foot Christmas tree.
Just about any fruit or vegetables could be used to conduct electricity; the achievement here is that sprouts are less efficient than most. You need lots of juice in your organic matter to provide juice, and those dry leafy sprouts hardly cut it.
The battery was created from five power cells, each carrying 200 sprouts that are hooked up to copper and zinc electrodes, and produced a grand total of 63 volts. The veggies are no longer edible (sorry, sprout fans), but should last for a month before the school-age scientists need to replenish them.
The aim of the project? “We want young people to think about STEM subjects in an interesting way, and are always looking for different ways to do that,” said Paul Jackson, CEO of EngineeringUK, which runs the fair. “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.”