The biggest eels can produce charges up to 600 watts of electricity, enough to power your computer, monitor, printer and office lighting simultaneously...at least for a moment. Knowing that some of the best ideas come from nature, researchers at Yale University working with counterparts at the National Institute of Standards and Technology are applying what eels do naturally to artificial cells.
Jian Xu, a postdoctoral associate in Yale's Department of Chemical Engineering, said the electric eel is very efficient at generating electricity. “It can generate more electricity than a lot of electrical devices.” The goal is to replicate electric eel cells in an artificial version to act as a power source for medical implants. Electric eels have specialized cells called electrocytes to channel the output of electricity the same way that nerve cells fire up.
The researchers from Yale had previously created a blueprint of an artificial cell that turned out to be even more efficient than eels at producing electricity.
One of the designs for the artificial cell generates more than 40 per cent more energy in a single pulse than a natural electrocyte. Another could produce peak power outputs over 28 percent higher.
The researchers hope to eventually use the artificial cells for bio-batteries and are ideal, if they work, for medical implants because they release no toxins.
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