Developing a cheap, sustainable, and simple to use low power electrical energy source will substantially improve the life quality of 1.6×109 people, comprising 32% of the developing non-Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development populations currently lacking access to electrical infrastructure (World Energy Outlook, 2006,, 10 September 2009). Such a source will provide important needs as lighting, telecommunication, and information transfer. Our previous studies on Zn/Cu electrolysis in animal tissues revealed a new fundamental bioelectrical property: the galvanic apparent internal impedance (GAII) [A. Golberg, H. D. Rabinowitch, and B. Rubinsky, Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun.389, 168 (2009)], with potential use for tissue typing. We now report on new fundamental studies on GAII in vegetative matter and on a simple way for significant performance improvement of Zn/Cu-vegetative battery. We show that boiled or irreversible electroporated potato tissues with disrupted cell membranes generate electric power up to tenfold higher than equal galvanic cell made of untreated potato. The study brought about basic engineering data that make possible a systematic design of a Zn/Cu-potato electrolytic battery. The ability to produce and utilize low power electricity was demonstrated by the construction of a light-emitting diode based system powered by potato cells. Primary cost analyses showed that treated Zn/Cu-potato battery generates portable energy at 9USD/kWh, which is 50-fold cheaper than the currently available 1.5 V AA alkaline cell (retail) or D cells (4984USD/kWh). Admittedly very simple, the treated potato or similarly treated other plant tissues could provide an immediate, environmental friendly, and inexpensive solution to many of the low power energy needs in areas of the world lacking access to electrical infrastructure.

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