How Everything Works
How Everything Works How Everything Works

Question 581

Can you get electricity or some sort of energy or power from fruit? — J, Embrun, Ontario
The answer is yes, but the method may not be what you had in mind. While it's possible to make a battery by inserting two dissimilar metal strips into the fruit, the battery that results is really powered by the metals themselves. The fruit juice just acts as an "electrolyte"—an electrically conductive liquid that facilitates the movement of electric charges. Claiming that the fruit is responsible for the energy is like claiming that the stone in "stone soup" (an old tale about a beggar who tricks the villagers in a community into contributing vegetables to spice up the soup that he's making with his magic stone) is really the basis for the soup.

The best way to obtain energy from the fruit is to eat it! The sugars and starches in the fruit have plenty of chemical potential energy that's released when those chemicals are oxidized in your body. This released energy is what allows you to live, work, and play.


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