Shocking Alternative Energy: Eel Powered Christmas Tree

Visitors at Japan’s Enoshima Aquarium are getting quite a shock when they walk through the exhibits this month. The aquarium has connected a large Christmas tree to an aquarium containing an electric eel, which provides power to the tree’s lights whenever it swims. It is quite possibly the world’s first eel-powered Christmas tree, but its inventor has even bigger plans: he wants to round up every electric eel in the world to power one gigantic tree.

Insane world domination plots aside, this rather unique display of alternative energy also incorporates people power into its functions: visitors can run or dance on a mat to generate even more power for the tree.

For the eel’s part, it generates about 800 watts of power every time it moves around in its tank. Two aluminum plates gather the electricity and shoot it through a wire to the tree which stands next to the tank. Hopefully the eel is well taken care of while it enjoys its 15 minutes of fame. We certainly wouldn’t recommend this form of alternative energy to anyone for use at home, but it makes for some downright entertaining viewing.

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See more in Energy & Power or under Science. December, 2010.