Sunday, January 10, 2010

Coke-powered cell phone

Not another spin on the old lemon battery. But I'm unfamiliar with what's actually going on here. According to the article, "the Eco-Friendly cellphone runs on an innovative battery which makes use of enzymes to generate electricity from carbohydrates."

I'm sure I should know how that works. But I don't. Or maybe I do and I just don't know that I do. Feel free to enlighten me in the comments.

It does remind me of the clever T-shirt I saw at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium recently: "Burn Carbohydrates, Not Hydrocarbons".


Stevie Ray said...

Dissimilar metals (copper and zinc?) bathed in an electrolyte (carbonic acid) connected to an external circuit - did I miss something here or is there some Woo-ness I'm failing to acknowledge?

Lee Trampleasure said...

My guess is we'll find it's a hoax, or at least a publicity stunt and not likely to ever get to market. Even the article says it's a cellphone "concept."

But just to check: My Palm Treo battery is rated at 3.7V and 1,600mAH. If I've done the math right, that's about 21 kJ of energy.

Coke has 97 calories/8 oz (a can is bigger, but it doesn't look like the can can hold more than 8 oz). That's 406 kJ of energy (remember nutritional calories are really kCals). So, if we could get 10% of the energy from the coke out as electricity, we still get double my battery.

But, I still suspect it's a hoax. I wait to be proven otherwise, although I did find evidence of a "sugar battery"

Marc "Zeke" Kossover said...

Back in 2007 Sony claimed to have a bio battery that worked on sugars. Check out

Stevie Ray said...

If this is a Microbial Fuel Cell (MFC) device, then you'll probably also have to add E. coli to the thing. GREAT - now my cell phone not only gives be bad battery life, it might also give me a severe case of gastroenteritis! I'm stickin' to the inorganic chemistry batteries thank you all the same.