The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum

Author Topic: Why don't we use eels as an electricity source?  (Read 2691 times)

Offline thedoc

  • Forum Admin
  • Administrator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 511
  • Thanked: 12 times
    • View Profile
Why don't we use eels as an electricity source?
« on: 17/03/2014 12:30:01 »
Barney Jopson asked the Naked Scientists:
   
I was reading one of the articles about electricity Which made me think. Why don't we use electric eels to create energy instead of burning coal?

I did some research and in a single blast they can create 600volts. Hope to get an answer soon.

Barney


What do you think?
« Last Edit: 17/03/2014 12:30:01 by _system »


 

Offline RD

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 8125
  • Thanked: 53 times
    • View Profile
Re: Why don't we use eels as an electricity source?
« Reply #1 on: 17/03/2014 13:27:42 »
Eels only produce momentary pulses of high-voltage electricity,
 (analogy : couldn't extract venom from a snake continuously ).

Voltage alone is not sufficient to tell you energy involved, e.g.
 static electricity discharge shocks are thousands of volts but typically won't incapacitate/kill, you just make you blaspheme.

You need to know Joules, rather than just Volts, if you want to make energy comparisons.


 

Offline alancalverd

  • Global Moderator
  • Neilep Level Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4707
  • Thanked: 153 times
  • life is too short to drink instant coffee
    • View Profile
Re: Why don't we use eels as an electricity source?
« Reply #2 on: 17/03/2014 19:05:17 »
There are various electric fish that deliver anything from microjoules (as some kind of sensory device) to several joules. Google gives some figures for the torpedo ray

Quote
an average electric ray may electrocute larger prey with a current of up to 30 amperes and a voltage of 50 to 200 volts, a similar effect to dropping a mains-powered hair dryer into a bathtub.

The problem with bioelectricity is persuading the fish to switch on and off when you want it to. It's hard enough training a dog to pick up game....
 

Offline evan_au

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 4113
  • Thanked: 245 times
    • View Profile
Re: Why don't we use eels as an electricity source?
« Reply #3 on: 18/03/2014 11:35:56 »
A living electric eel has many things to do apart from generate electricity for humans, on demand.

It must catch food and repel predators (this is what the electric shock does), digest food, swim to find food & mates and breathe. This means that it will be < 1% efficient at turning freshwater crustaceans into electricity.

After generating multiple bolts of electricity over an hour, they get too tired, and must eat and rest before they can generate more electricity.

Given the relative price of shrimp and electricity, I think it will be cheaper to shovel coal into the power station, and throw the shrimp on the BBQ...
 

The Naked Scientists Forum

Re: Why don't we use eels as an electricity source?
« Reply #3 on: 18/03/2014 11:35:56 »

 

SMF 2.0.10 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums
 
Login
Login with username, password and session length