[youtube width=”640″ height=”505″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9wktSQdyaE[/youtube]
A Japanese aquarium is going eco-friendly with its Christmas display — harnessing the output of an electric eel to illuminate the lights on the holiday tree. A pair of aluminum panels capture the energy every time the eel moves with enough juice to light up a 2-meter tall tree in intermittent flashes. For the last five years the aquarium in Kamakura, just south of Tokyo, has featured this “enlightening” electric eel holiday display to encourage and create awareness for ecological sensitivity.
Electric eels can grow to be pretty ginormous reaching lengths up to 6 ft. and weighing up to 45 pounds. The physiology of the electric eel produces two types of voltage, a low and a high, through two separate organs. Operating like a battery, the cells in these organs are stacked creating the ability to generate shocks up to 500 volts at 1 amp — for a total 500 watts of power! Even during movement where low voltage occurs, they can generate around 10 volts plenty enough to be collected and stored to power some low voltage holiday lights. These lights are most likely low-voltage LED lights making it easier to harness the power of the eels.
Thanks for the tip Drew!