Battery production and consumption has increased ten-fold in the industrialized world since 1963; however, most of these batteries utilize hazardous materials to generate a commercially viable voltage (1.5– 12 volts). Many of these materials pose an ecological threat in that they can take decades if not centuries to biodegrade in landfills consequently allowing long-term seepage of hazardous materials into the soil and water supply. The purpose of this project was to construct an eco-friendly biodegradable battery employing aluminum and copper as an anode and cathode, and utilizing natural components for the electrolyte system and battery casing. In order to create the battery, a paper derived from cellulose grass, okra juice, and water was used to contain the citric acid-rich lemon juice electrolyte that was subsequently encased in the biodegradable plastic casing. The paper matrix was then placed between the electrodes and water was added, creating a functional, eco-friendly battery. The cells generated an average of .51 volts over a 24-hour period and an average of .50 volts when placed in circuit with a 1-watt, 10-ohm resistor. The gelatin-based, biodegradable plastic was tested and was found to completely biodegrade in 33 hours, making it the optimal eco-friendly battery.
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Vol. 110 • No. 1