Lithium vs earth battery: the experiment has begun πŸ’‘

in Proof of Brain β€’ 2 months ago (edited)


I propose that a collection of seven copper tubes filled with moist salty soil and steel screws will maintain an LED at full brightness longer than a 3V lithium battery. Further to this I believe my earth battery will not only outlive the 3V lithium battery, but it will outlive many more because it seems to me that in order for the electrons to stop flowing between the cathode (copper tubes) and the anode (steel screws) either the tubes or the screws need to dissolve completely, which may take years. Perhaps even decades?

I will therefore keep on adding new 3V batteries to the lithium powered light every time the luminosity drops below par, taking note of how many batteries have been used. The only 'fuel' I will add to my earth battery is salty water and potentially fresh soil.

In order to avoid any question of trickery I have removed the outer casing of the earth battery LED, connecting it directly to the positive & negative outputs.


If you are keen to know exactly how I made the earth battery you will find the details in this post. The voltage & amperage from the set-up described in that post however was not sufficient to match the brightness of the lithium powered light, so I adjusted two things:

  • I added longer screws which now reach down all the way to the bottom of the tubes.

  • I added salt water (instead of pure water) to the soil in the tubes.

This boosted my power significantly and as you can see the two identical LEDs are now around the same brightness.



  • Both lights must stay on continuously and maintain an equal brightness.

  • If the earth battery stops working due to the build-up of deposits (which I suspect will happen eventually) it may be taken apart and cleaned but it must be put back together in exactly the same way without any additions to the original design.

  • If the earth battery stops working due to a problem with the soil, the soil may be replaced.

  • When the lithium powered LED becomes noticeably less bright than the earth battery powered LED, the battery will be changed to achieve equal brightness again.

  • When the earth battery powered LED is unable to match the brightness of the lithium powered LED (and cleaning the device or adding new soil makes no difference) the experiment will come to an end and I will be able to tell you how many 3V lithium batteries a device like this (which cost me around €15 to build) can save you from buying.

  • At the bottom of every post I write (potentially for the next decade!) there will be an update indicating two things: how many days the lights have been on and how many lithium batteries have so far been used in the experiment.


I considered housing the device in a sealed unit to prevent evaporation but the copper tubes provide a simple enough way to keep it moist by dripping the salt water directly into the top with a pipette. Can't say for sure yet but I imagine I will have to add the salt water every two or three days, depending on the time of year.

The intensity of this light is perfect as a nightlight for the bedroom of young children who generally don't like sleeping in pitch black conditions, so my experiment will sit here and provide a useful function at the same time.


The intensity is sufficient enough that it could also be a bedside reading light for adults.

Final thoughts

My intention with this experiment is not so much to prove the effectiveness of earth batteries against lithium but more to get you all thinking about how easy it is to produce your own electricity at home.

In fact you don't even need soil or copper pipe. You can simply use copper wire, tin foil and wet tissue, as described in my previous post.


There was a time not all that long ago when this stuff was common knowledge to us, but it was erased from our collective consciousness during the last century due to its inconvenient conflict with the energy industry who would much rather we rely on them for all our energy needs.

While this is certainly an interesting experiment to get the juices flowing in regards to what is possible I am in fact much more excited about my upcoming project to build the capacitor described in my last post.

Screenshot 2023-01-29 at 17.56.37.png

Unlike my earth battery this device can store energy and release it back to me at a much higher rate, eliminating any need for a connection to the grid or so called green energies such as solar or wind.

This is how I am going to power a waterproof camera in my garden for three months in order to shoot a time-lapse film which categorically proves the effectiveness of electrocultre alongside a control group.

Please tag me in to your findings if any of you feel inspired enough to start playing with electrical ideas of your own.

Let us conduct our experiments in a professional manner and support each other with accurate and honest updates on this immutable blockchain in order that we may become the world's most efficient decentralised research team on the cutting edge of re-discovering that which was once known.

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It occurred to me that you could probably use a water retaining polymer mixed with the soil to give it a longer life before recharge. There are all the ones for horticulture use like Soilmoist. That and a more closed system would make the moisture last a good while. Fun watching your experiments.

Nice idea! Was not aware of water retaining polymer till this moment.

In truth I will enjoy having to water it every few days, giving me a regular opportunity to observe closely how it is looking.

This morning it is looking great! No change to the brightness after 24h.

Am curious to know if you caught any of my electroculture posts? As someone who grows food on a much greater scale than myself, the techniques I have described over the last few months could really benefit your farm.

I've been following along and am intrigued by what you've been doing. It'll be interesting to see your results over the next few months. I'll admit it's hard for me to see doing the electroculture at scale (like acres) but I could see making it work in select smaller areas. I till my soil completely each spring so would have to install when I do the irrigation.

If you were talking about trees a basic copper wire Lacovsky coil at the base of each one wouldn't take too long, though by the sounds of things that's not what we are talking about.

For long distances the magnetised cables are unquestionably the best because one set of magnets will keep the cable magnetised for miles and miles, as long as it heads towards magnetic north. How deep do you till? I think these cables can be up to 50cms deep to maintain best effect

The way I plant my garden the rows are spaced 3 feet apart and plants 1 foot apart in each row. I till the entire space as deep as I can which right now is about 1 foot or 30cm. I think initially I can do a coil on each of my two cherry trees as I don't mess with the ground around them. I have a bunch of copper wire, tubing, and even braided from shielded coax to work with.

Loving it. Keeping tabs, not built mine yet few other project to get sorted first..But loving your work πŸ™πŸΌ

Spring is usually better for such exploits. Especially as my research tells me these cells have a higher output when they are buried in the earth...

Gives me some.time then πŸ‘ŒπŸΌ

Not sure if you have seen this video about "crystal cells" or not but your setup reminds me of this video that I watched many many years ago and had decent results with when I made them myself. I never actually tested the power output, but lighting LEDs and powering a small motor seemed to be no problem. They do however degrade/corrode over time and will become unusable after a few years. It may give you a few more ideas to try/experiment with.

AMAZING! Even more amazing you were building them so long ago. I didn't know about crystal cells at all. But now I do!

A few years sounds pretty good if the output is decent. Will have to make one and find out more. Weirdly I bought a huge bag of borox recently for my toothpaste. So this fits nicely! Like it was meant to be ;)

Thanks very much for the guidance.

Read your last post on this topic too. Really love seeing these Mr. Science type experiments. This one is my favorite.

Is there some sort of copyright preventing manufacturers from selling these diy batteries online or in stores? I suspect it has more to do with incredibly effective withholding of information, that is isn't taught in basic science, engineering, and electrician training, and the bogus label of psuedoscience.

So far, your battery appears it might be far longer lasting, efficient, and cheaper. Only drawback appears to be size and time spent maintaining it.

Is there some sort of copyright preventing manufacturers from selling these diy batteries online or in stores?

Not at all. Though if I am going to be honest this one is a tricky one for me to fully understand. On one hand we have the people who tell me what I am doing here is nothing new, no big deal, the kind of stuff we learn in school. Then on the other hand we have the people are blown away by this. Like me! So, I am unclear why, if indeed this is something we learn at school (must have been daydreaming in that lesson!) why 90% of people fall into the second camp. Was everyone daydreaming in that lesson????

As you say I think this is largely to do with the withholding of information. In the media particularly. Just keeping our attention anywhere but here. So while we may have been taught this in school (as a galvanic cell) the implications of what this really means have been kept from us.

Chatting with a friend today he tells me it will be the screws which 'die' first. But not because they dissolve. Rather because the layer of zinc they have on their surface will be depleted. He was unsure how long this would take however so let's see what happens...

I've been reading all these posts with interest. I am curious too, how many batteries you go through..

Have been chatting with a few people today I am not so sure now this is going to last for years any more. It may in fact be the screws which are the weak link in this. But perhaps I will change the rules to permit for new screws from time to time! Seems fair I think. Screws are cheap enough and we all have them. Let's see what happens...

Awesome experiment

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I love the camera idea. awesome !

It is going to be a challenge for sure but I am excited to try...


La la la la... meow.


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