Innovation: A Shocking Discovery Eel energy

Yale University researchers are shocking the clean tech sector with cells that produce their own energy, ã la the electric eel. Eels’ thousands of cells, called electrocytes, generate up to 600 volts of electricity—about 50 car batteries’ worth of juice. Using this process as a guide, scientists have designed a blueprint for artificial cells that create 28% more juice than one eel electrocyte. Though years from implementation, artificial cells could replace lithium-ion batteries in medical implants like pacemakers and hearing aids. These bio-batteries would recharge naturally using the body’s own replenished energy source (food), thereby eliminating replacement surgeries and medical waste. Plus, the artificial cells are free of toxins like nickel and vanadium oxide, a bonus for the body and the earth. “If it breaks, there are no toxins released into your system,” says researcher Jian Xu. “It would be just like any other cell in your body.”