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Author Topic: Has anyone built themselves an aluminium can battery?  (Read 15692 times)

Offline Airthumbs

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Having seen a small video on the web I thought I would have a go myself at making one of these.  Using a sponge, a coaxial outer sheath, an aluminium can, and some saline water, I manged to get .18V!  Wow!

If anyone is interested let me know and I will make the effort of posting some instructions  ::)

On Monday I am off to get some 3V led lights and I will then run several tests of different concentrations of salt water and various other alterations and see what kind of difference this makes to the output.

I believe although I have not verified it myself yet that they last just about an hour.  What a difference this could make in places where there is no electricity at night.  The light emitted by the led is enough to read by.  given that led's might be unavailable in some places I will also be testing those little lights you find in toys that do not fall under the category of led lights but do still run on 3V.

This might be old news but I have not heard of these until very recently.

Description:-

Aluminium Can Battery

After reading through some of the kitchen science stuff I feel that this idea is worthy of its own post and thats what I have done.  After posting it I saw this section and will endeavor to include a description of the Aluminium Can Battery.


What you need



1 Aluminium can
About 1 meter of conductive wire. (I used the outer sheath of a coaxial cable).
A sponge
Some paper tissue towling
Some saline water. (I used 2 teaspoons of salt mixed into about 300ml of water).
A can opener
Some sand paper
Scissors


What you do

Using the can opener remove the top of the can.  Make sure the inside is clean. Be careful here as the top of the can is very sharp so it might be best to wear protective gloves to prevent cutting yourself! Take the sand paper and lightly use it to rub the inside of the can.  This helps to maximize the surface area in  contact with the saline solution, I think :)
Cut the sponge down so it is about the same length of the can.  Then using the scissors cut down the middle of the sponge but not all the way through, you should now be able to open the sponge up as if it were a cob, bun, or even bap!
Place the coaxial cable inside the centre of the sponge with about 2cm sticking out from one end, close the sponge, with what you have left begin to wrap the wire around the outside of the sponge starting at the opposite end you have from where the wire is sticking out and working your way towards the end with the wire sticking out about 2cm. Keep making the coils around the outside of the sponge until you have used up all of it. The final end of the cable can be just tucked under one of the coils you have made to secure it in place.
Now take the paper toweling and carefully wrap this around the outside of the sponge and wire.  The idea of this is to prevent the wire from touching the inside of the can.  Now push the sponge inside the can until you are left with just the top of the sponge visible with wire sticking out from the centre.
Now you are ready to pour the saline solution into the can, do this slowly as it takes time for the sponge to absorb the water, keep going until you almost reach the top of the can.

And that's it. You just made a battery.

I will be experimenting with variations of, wire length and saline concentrations to see if I can find the most effective combinations to produce a higher voltage and/or duration of the battery.  They normally last about an hour.

Lets try and make a difference, spread the word..    please let me know if you manage to get more then .18V, the video I saw on youtube showed someone using four cans to light an led for an hour. I am not doing something right so please let me know if anyone has more success.....

By the way here is the original link, I hope the Naked Scientists make a much better version as this is missing some essential information! 
« Last Edit: 26/06/2011 20:42:16 by Airthumbs »


 

Offline Airthumbs

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Has anyone built themselves an aluminium can battery?
« Reply #1 on: 27/06/2011 19:04:25 »
I got .5V today, getting there!
 

Offline RD

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Has anyone built themselves an aluminium can battery?
« Reply #2 on: 27/06/2011 22:05:53 »
I’ve seen something similar done with cans of cat food

Quote
It's possible to make a battery using cat food! To do this, open the tin preferably without the cat being near otherwise it'll expect to be fed. Put a fork into the middle of the food so the fork stands up and doesn't touch the can. Now there is a voltage between the fork and the tin can. This is because the fork and the can are made of different metals and the cat food becomes an electrolyte and conducts electricity to some extent. The amount of electricity generated by a catfood battery is not great and won't light a bulb, but it is measurable and will drive "solar" motors.
http://www.zyra.org.uk/battery.htm

http://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?topic=15897.0
 

Offline Geezer

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Has anyone built themselves an aluminium can battery?
« Reply #3 on: 27/06/2011 23:19:42 »
The original burrito battery. You'll need some activated charcoal too.

http://www.exo.net/~pauld/activities/AlAirBattery/alairbattery.html
 

Offline Airthumbs

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Has anyone built themselves an aluminium can battery?
« Reply #4 on: 28/06/2011 10:21:22 »
The original burrito battery. You'll need some activated charcoal too.

http://www.exo.net/~pauld/activities/AlAirBattery/alairbattery.html

Thanks geezer for that link.  However what I am trying to do is make a battery at the lowest possible cost.  The idea being that people who have no electricity and very little money would be able to resource the ingredients locally and provide themselves with some lighting. 

This would hopefully allow people less fortunate then ourselves to at least have the possibility of being able to study or all of the other things you can't do without light in the evenings.
 

Offline RD

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Has anyone built themselves an aluminium can battery?
« Reply #5 on: 28/06/2011 11:51:07 »
... what I am trying to do is make a battery at the lowest possible cost. 

Your battery requires copper which is increasingly expensive, (I wish I'd bought copper stocks a decade ago).

Quote
From 2001 until 2008, the price of the metal has increased by more than 500 percent.
http://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2008/december/copper_120308

Biofuel is the way to go if you want "dirt cheap" energy ...

Quote
biogas (methane) from animals' excrement
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/6294133.stm
« Last Edit: 28/06/2011 12:01:28 by RD »
 

Offline Geezer

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Has anyone built themselves an aluminium can battery?
« Reply #6 on: 29/06/2011 00:27:45 »
The original burrito battery. You'll need some activated charcoal too.

http://www.exo.net/~pauld/activities/AlAirBattery/alairbattery.html

Thanks geezer for that link.  However what I am trying to do is make a battery at the lowest possible cost.  The idea being that people who have no electricity and very little money would be able to resource the ingredients locally and provide themselves with some lighting. 

This would hopefully allow people less fortunate then ourselves to at least have the possibility of being able to study or all of the other things you can't do without light in the evenings.

Understood. The air battery is actually quite effective. I think the only thing that is used up is the aluminum, and perhaps that could be an old soda can. I'm not sure exactly what "activated charcoal" is, but I suspect it's pretty easy to make. (Where are all the chemists when you need them!)

I had a very half-baked idea about a variation on "Mr Fusion" where you drop old aluminum cans into a hopper on the back of your car and, Voila! - free transportation. I think I still have the unopened box of charcoal somewhere  ;D
 

Offline Airthumbs

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Has anyone built themselves an aluminium can battery?
« Reply #7 on: 29/06/2011 02:21:39 »
I must look into this further especially that air battery.  I would like to say though that the outer sheath of the coaxial cable I am currently using in my can battery is not copper.  I am not sure exactly what metal it is?  It is silver in color although it has obviously oxidised as it is matt and not shiny....
 

Offline Geezer

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Has anyone built themselves an aluminium can battery?
« Reply #8 on: 29/06/2011 03:24:20 »
As I recall, Al is very good because it is so reactive. Unfortunately, because it is so reactive it also oxidises very quickly, and the oxide impedes further reaction. However, if you can figure out a way to remove the oxide mechanically or by some other means.......
 

Offline Airthumbs

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Has anyone built themselves an aluminium can battery?
« Reply #9 on: 29/06/2011 03:52:07 »
As I recall, Al is very good because it is so reactive. Unfortunately, because it is so reactive it also oxidises very quickly, and the oxide impedes further reaction. However, if you can figure out a way to remove the oxide mechanically or by some other means.......

I guess sandpaper would do the job, I have two cans right now that have been running for about 48hrs.  I will have a look at the inside of the can within the next 8hrs or so and see if the interior surface has changed.

I will take some pictures of what I have and post them in this thread so people can see what I have done. 

I am still waiting for a response from the famously busy Ben V on this battery and hoping that someone can tell me how to maximise its efficiency.  I do have the copper interior of the coaxial cables I have stripped down so I could use that instead of the outer sheath if this would increase the voltage?

Any ideas/advice would be greatly appreciated.
 

Offline Geezer

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Has anyone built themselves an aluminium can battery?
« Reply #10 on: 29/06/2011 06:27:36 »
The problem with Al is that it is so reactive that forms a surface barrier of oxide almost immediately. Paradoxically, that is why aluminum/aluminium is not very prone to corrosion. Not that I know anything about this stuff you understand, but if you can find a means to periodically remove the aluminum oxide from the battery, I think it will keep producing power until all the aluminum is converted into oxide.

In theory, if you could capture all the aluminum oxide, you could reprocess it back into aluminum.

Just as an aside, I wonder how much gasoline is equivalent to an aluminum can in terms of potential energy?
 

Offline SeanB

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Has anyone built themselves an aluminium can battery?
« Reply #11 on: 29/06/2011 20:01:01 »
Use a drop of mercury, and scratch through it to expose the bare metal. Makes a lovely collection of oxides if you leave it overnight on a thick block of aluminium metal.
 

Offline Geezer

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Has anyone built themselves an aluminium can battery?
« Reply #12 on: 29/06/2011 20:54:23 »
"Only the Al/air EVs can be projected to have a travel range comparable to ICEs. From this analysis, Al/air EVs are the most promising candidates compared to ICEs in terms of travel range, purchase price, fuel cost, and life-cycle cost."

ICE = Internal Combustion Engine

From  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aluminium_battery

It would certainly be very interesting if this could be made to work on a commercial scale. It might make EV's a lot more practical.
 

Offline Airthumbs

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« Reply #13 on: 04/07/2011 02:11:19 »
If this process could be refined I would hope that it would not be made into a commercial capitalist style product but that the information for making one would be made available to people without electricity.  Must we always seek to commercialise our ideas instead of trying to help people?

Of course non profit commercialism would be acceptable, or is that a contradiction in terms?  ;D
 

Offline Geezer

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Has anyone built themselves an aluminium can battery?
« Reply #14 on: 04/07/2011 03:53:56 »
I think we should let the politicians try to sort that out  ;)
 

Offline peppercorn

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Has anyone built themselves an aluminium can battery?
« Reply #15 on: 04/07/2011 11:44:47 »
Google threw this page up for me:

HEV Vehicle Battery Types

Although it's looking at battery applications for hybrid-electric vehicles, it contains some useful summaries of each of the technologies.


Am I right in thinking all the tech's discussed so far are electrically recharged in situ?  What about these type of reactive batteries being used as part of a battery swap scheme?  Could that work?
 

Offline Geezer

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« Reply #16 on: 04/07/2011 20:14:40 »
The Al-Air battery would not be much use on a hybrid. It's a primary cell battery, so it is not rechargeable. On the other hand, it has fantastic energy density compared to rechargeable batteries, so it might be possible to swap them out for reprocessing, and require that the energy used in reprocessing came from a renewable source.
 

Offline yor_on

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Offline Geezer

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« Reply #18 on: 05/07/2011 18:14:22 »
Aluminum battery science?

I think their battery is flat. The europositron links are don't seem to work.
 

Offline yor_on

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« Reply #19 on: 05/07/2011 23:20:12 »
Europositron Rechargeable Aluminum Batteries.

"Europositron Powerful Aluminum Battery to Hit Market in 2007 - Europositron of Finland has developed an innovative nano scale electrochemistry technology that allows the production of rechargeable aluminum batteries. (Electrifying Times; Spring/Summer 2006; Vol. 10 No. 1)

Giant Aluminium batteries are for real - Ab Europositron Oy has been conferred the prestigious 2005 Frost & Sullivan Technology Innovation of the Year Award in the field of battery technologies. (ZPEnergy; March 23, 2005)

Award for Europositron's Technology Innovation in Battery Technology - Ab Europositron Oy has been conferred the prestigious 2005 Frost & Sullivan Technology Innovation of the Year Award in the field of battery technologies. (Azonano; 23rd March 2005)"

"District court finds fake inventor

The Helsinki district court has taken an inventor, who for years has been collecting money by issuing stocks, under custody, the newspaper Helsingin Sanomat says. Europositron Ab has sold stocks to hundreds of Finns for at least 1.3 million Euro despite the invention the company is marketing is a pure "product of imagination" according to the police. The company have had large advertisements in newspapers during the the years 2001-2007 and has sold stocks in three issues. Europositron has been collecting money from investors for a aluminum battery which was supposed to be developed with the help of "nano chemistry" and which promised to be 20 times lighter and with a much longer durability than today's batteries. According to testimonies the police has collected, the inventor is not real and Europositron has had no other business than issuing stocks. Helsingin Sanomat says six investors finally got tired with the inventor and reported him to the police."
 

Offline CliffordK

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Has anyone built themselves an aluminium can battery?
« Reply #20 on: 29/11/2011 12:25:58 »
You might try:

Aluminum Anode

Iron Oxide (rusty piece of steel) for Cathode.

You can experiment with different solvents (salt water, Sodium hydroxide, or acid).
 

Offline syhprum

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Re: Has anyone built themselves an aluminium can battery?
« Reply #21 on: 06/04/2012 20:12:46 »
In the fourties before the development of semicondudtor devices it was very difficult to obtain DC from an AC supply one of the devices I tried as a boy was an electrolitic rectifier which used Aluminium plates in a liquid solution, I was surprised to find this also functioned as a battery   
 

Offline crimsonknight3

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Re: Has anyone built themselves an aluminium can battery?
« Reply #22 on: 14/07/2012 17:29:31 »
Europositron Rechargeable Aluminum Batteries. [nofollow]

"Europositron Powerful Aluminum Battery to Hit Market in 2007 - Europositron of Finland has developed an innovative nano scale electrochemistry technology that allows the production of rechargeable aluminum batteries. (Electrifying Times; Spring/Summer 2006; Vol. 10 No. 1)

Giant Aluminium batteries are for real - Ab Europositron Oy has been conferred the prestigious 2005 Frost & Sullivan Technology Innovation of the Year Award in the field of battery technologies. (ZPEnergy; March 23, 2005)

Award for Europositron's Technology Innovation in Battery Technology - Ab Europositron Oy has been conferred the prestigious 2005 Frost & Sullivan Technology Innovation of the Year Award in the field of battery technologies. (Azonano; 23rd March 2005)"

"District court finds fake inventor

The Helsinki district court has taken an inventor, who for years has been collecting money by issuing stocks, under custody, the newspaper Helsingin Sanomat says. Europositron Ab has sold stocks to hundreds of Finns for at least 1.3 million Euro despite the invention the company is marketing is a pure "product of imagination" according to the police. The company have had large advertisements in newspapers during the the years 2001-2007 and has sold stocks in three issues. Europositron has been collecting money from investors for a aluminum battery which was supposed to be developed with the help of "nano chemistry" and which promised to be 20 times lighter and with a much longer durability than today's batteries. According to testimonies the police has collected, the inventor is not real and Europositron has had no other business than issuing stocks. Helsingin Sanomat says six investors finally got tired with the inventor and reported him to the police."

However, saying that, currently there has been improvements in nano scale chemistry, as such in the medical industry, creating 5nm particles and alloys, such as a nano silver nitrate to treat burn victims to prevent infection, so theoretically this idea could be viable in the next few years :)
 

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Re: Has anyone built themselves an aluminium can battery?
« Reply #22 on: 14/07/2012 17:29:31 »

 

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