A team of scientists and engineers from The Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Fair has created the world’s first battery made entirely of Brussels sprouts, which is being used to light an 8 foot Christmas tree.
The “Sprout Battery” was launched today on the Southbank, London, with the help of Year 7 pupils from City of London Academy, Islington, who were on hand to switch on the Christmas tree lights.
The environmentally-friendly power source will come as a relief to the nation’s children as research has found that two-thirds of them (67%) think the tradition of eating Brussels Sprouts at Christmas should be stopped.
Through the inventive use of science and engineering, The Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Fair has gone to extreme measures to show sprout-haters an alternative way to enjoy the vegetable at Christmas. The ground-breaking use of sprouts highlights alternative ways to use the festive vegetable that over two thirds of children (68%) said they “hate”.
The battery was created using five power cells, each holding 200 sprouts, producing 63 volts from the 1,000 Brussels sprouts (this comes into the extra low voltage category – like a telephone – and is safe to touch). Copper and Zinc electrodes are placed in each Brussels sprout to create a chemical reaction between the electrodes, generating a current which can be stored and used to power the LEDs on the tree.
The power is stored in a capacitor and released through 100 high efficiency LEDs. The Big Bang scientists are able to monitor the voltage on a separate display, which shows how much energy is being produced by the sprouts.
Paul Jackson, the CEO of EngineeringUK, which runs The Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Fair, added: “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.
“Every year thousands of pupils and teachers attend the Fair, which exists to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers. We want to extend the buzz of the Fair further and wider, so that even those who can’t attend are encouraged to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and maths.”
EU research project to turn food waste into feed