You cannot charge a mobile phone using onions as shown in this video

A video which shows that a mobile phone loaded with a few onions is widely shared on social media. Let’s check the facts.

To claim: Mobile phone can be charged using onions.

Do: The claim that onions can be used to charge a cell phone is unscientific. Even though the onion is filled with electrolytes, two electrodes are required for the whole setup to function as a wet cell. Since this setup doesn’t have two electrodes, there’s no way it will work like a wet cell that can power a cell phone. Therefore, the claim made in the message is FAKE.

In the video that accompanies the Publish, it can be observed that not all of the charger wire is visible in the frame. Social media users also expressed the same doubt in the comments section. It is quite possible that two chargers were used in the video, the one on the lower side could have been connected to the power supply, and the other wire, which is at the top, connected to the onions, must have just come out of the frame .

Now let’s understand whether there is a scientific possibility of charging a cell phone battery with onions, as the video shows.

Battery are devices that store chemical energy which can then be converted into electrical energy. A single battery can consist of one or more electrochemical or dry cells. The electrochemical cell produces electricity from chemical reactions.

It has two electrodes, an anode and a cathode, both made of two different metals. They are immersed in a electrolytic the solution. Once a chemical reaction occurs in the cell, electrons begin to flow from anode to cathode, and conventional current flows in the opposite direction i.e. from cathode to anode . This battery can be used to power any device connected between the two electrodes.

Famous internet hoax in 2007

In 2007, a video entitled ‘How to charge an iPod using electrolytes and an onion’ was shared by a YouTube channel named “Household Hacker”. It was shown in the video that dipping an onion in an energy drink containing electrolytes and sticking a USB connector to the onion and the other end of the connector to the iPad can charge it. The video then generated a lot of interest and several people tried it. However, the video was a “parody” which the channel itself clearly mentioned. In fact, the same channel published a similar parody again in 2016 as an April Fool’s joke.

This was proven wrong in an episode of the popular Discovery Channel show Mythbusters. The video explains that it can only work on the principle of a wet cell battery if it works. In the Mythbusters video, an experiment was performed to test whether the home hackers’ claims are valid, but no electricity passed through the onion. It is explained that even after soaking the onion, assuming it is filled with electrolyte, two metal electrodes are required for the whole setup to function as a wet cell. Since only a USB stick is inserted, there is no chance that it will work as a battery. Articles published on ABC News and The Guardian also said that it is impossible to charge a mobile phone with onion with this type of configuration.

Jon Edwards of the Royal Society of Chemistry explained to ‘The Guardian’ that “The science behind the idea isn’t bad – you can generate electric current from vegetables – but the video is a hoax.” He explained that it couldn’t work because it needed two electrodes to produce a reaction.

The same principle can be applied to the video in the current viral post. We can conclude that since there are not two electrodes, there is no chance that it will work as a wet battery that can power a cell phone.

In 2014, nokia collaborated with the artist Caleb Charland to demonstrate organic load. He used 800 vegetablesthe wet cell principle and the famous high school experiment, potato cell, to charge the Nokia mobile phone. Here he used two different metals to create this organic stack. The whole video can be viewed here. To learn more about how vegetables and fruits can be used to charge cell phones, read this article.

To sum up, you cannot recharge your mobile phone with Onions as shown in this video.

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