EZ Power from Salt Water: The Voltiac Pile

Discussion in 'Off Grid Living' started by UncleMorgan, Aug 27, 2016.

  1. UncleMorgan

    UncleMorgan I like peeling bananas and (occasionally) people.

    A battery that does not need to be pre-charged, and is very easy to make. It only puts out a moderate amount of juice, but it can run LEDs for hours, and charge up those cell phones (and other things) after the Grid is gone.

    Ingredients: Aluminum foil, copper foil, paper towels, salt water. That's it. Power starts flowing when you add the salt water.

    Pretty neat. Super easy. You can make it with scavenged copper roof flashing & Al foil.

    Invented by Volta around 1800, before Aluminum foil was readily available.

    History: Voltaic pile - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    How-2 videos:

    What got me interested: SALt lamp runs on a glass of water and two teaspoons of salt

    Motomom34, Tempstar, Ganado and 4 others like this.
  2. duane

    duane Monkey+++

    Interesting, thank you. With the LED and low power electronics we are into a whole new world for off grid. A power source that puts out less than 5 amps at 12 or so volts is no longer just a toy. Can run phones, radios, lights, medical devices etc. Don't know if it is practical, but using a 200 year old design would indicate it is fairly low tech and maybe we should be looking into some of the other old ideas. A lot easier to build than a solar cell.
    UncleMorgan and Ganado like this.
  3. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

    @UncleMorgan [hug}[winkthumb] you come up with the most inventive ideas! I would never have though to look at this. I so appreciate your out b of the box thinking. [biggrouphug]
    UncleMorgan and Motomom34 like this.
  4. Tempstar

    Tempstar Pray for BT

    Made one once and hung it off the boat at the marina. Worked well for a week, then the can was eaten away. But it did work and powered a white LED for that week.
  5. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    That is good to know @Tempstar. I went and researched,boat owners deal with this issue. Very interesting.
    UncleMorgan and Ganado like this.
  6. Tempstar

    Tempstar Pray for BT

    Guess I should elaborate a bit...I wrapped a beer can with paper then a strip of copper. I was looking for a method of generating some power from the salt water to power a system to keep barnacles off the boat. I found that a beer can will sit in the salt water forever until you make an anode out of it....
    UncleMorgan, Ganado and Cruisin Sloth like this.
  7. UncleMorgan

    UncleMorgan I like peeling bananas and (occasionally) people.

    Good to know that the Aluminum is the metal that disintegrates, rather than the more expensive copper. There's no shortage of beer cans and other Aluminum scrap that could be pressed into service. Battery life is probably based on the volume of Aluminum and the power output (to a certain point) based on the surface area of the electrodes.
    I can see a bunch copper scrubbers stuffed in a sock and buried in a gallon jar of aluminum turnings from a machine shop. Fill the jar with salt water and you should get a fair amount of power for quite a while.

    Easy thing to try out.

    Run it backwards, that is pump electric power into it, and I think you would get electrolysis--which could give you hydrogen gas for use as a fuel.

    I think--haven't checked that out yet.
    Ganado and Motomom34 like this.
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