Most kids don't like Brussels sprouts. This isn't a revelation (and it's usually because parents don't know how to cook them correctly). But the research showing that as many as two-thirds of UK kids hate Brussels sprouts at Christmas enough to want them removed as part of the traditional feast was enough to get a team of scientists and engineers plotting over how to make Brussels sprouts cool.
So, at The Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Fair, the largest science, technology, engineering and maths fair for youth in the UK, revealed something the world had never seen before: A Christmas tree powered by a Brussels sprout battery. Using over 1,000 sprouts to light 100 LEDs, the team might not have made Brussels sprouts more tasty, but they did make them more interesting.
According to a press release, "The battery was created using five power cells, each holding 200 sprouts, producing 63 volts from the 1,000 Brussels sprouts (this comes into the extra low voltage category – like a telephone – and is safe to touch). Copper and Zinc electrodes are placed in each Brussels sprout to create a chemical reaction between the electrodes, generating a current which can be stored and used to power the LEDs on the tree. The power is stored in a capacitor and released through 100 high efficiency LEDs. The Big Bang scientists are able to monitor the voltage on a separate display, which shows how much energy is being produced by the sprouts."
So while it's not going to become the new way of powering holiday lights, it is certainly a new way to look at an all too often loathed vegetable.
(Meanwhile, we happen to love Brussels sprouts, so check out some recipes so good even the kids polled for the survey will love them:
Brussels sprouts with sauteed shallots and mushrooms
Roasted Brussels sprouts with orange butter sauce
Shaved Brussels sprout salad with red onions and lemon-dijon dressing