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I have been playing with the ideas of electricity generating/attacks for my characters using either electric organs similar to electric eels or some sort of bio battery using bacteria that produce electrons.

I was wondering to what limit electrical energy of this form could be contained in a battery like organ for later use that could fit within a human, or maybe using theorised storage technologies of the future that I could alter to be biological.

I was wondering if even a large surface area sheet like organ under skin could be possible to maximise the amount able to be stored.

So my question is How much and what is the best way to store the most amount of electricity within an average human body?

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In our body there is already a mechanism for separating charges. It is called the Na+/K+ pump

The Na+/K+-ATPase enzyme is active (i.e. it uses energy from ATP). For every ATP molecule that the pump uses, three sodium ions are exported and two potassium ions are imported; there is hence a net export of a single positive charge per pump cycle. All mammals have four different sodium pump sub-types, or isoforms.

You can get a sort of baseline for the amount of electricity you can store in a human body in the following way: if you charge each cell of the human body with 1 spare electron, considering that in a human body there are about 30 trillion cells, you would get a net charge of $10^{12} \cdot 10^{-19}= 0.1 \mu C$.

Considering that $Q=I\cdot t$, it would be the equivalent of a current of 0.1 mA flowing in 1 ms.

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  • $\begingroup$ this answer is going over my head a little sorry but I like the different approach, could I change the cells or ATP system to hold a much stronger charge? $\endgroup$
    – user69935
    Commented Oct 28, 2019 at 21:14
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    $\begingroup$ @JRams, you can have more than 1 electron per cell by providing the adequate energy (charging a charged body is increasingly more difficult) $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Commented Oct 29, 2019 at 3:22
  • $\begingroup$ @L Dutch Ok Thanks for the answer $\endgroup$
    – user69935
    Commented Oct 29, 2019 at 12:30
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The organs you want are modified muscles called electrocytes. They are sodium-potassium ion pumps shaped like a disk (or a hearing aid battery) which can be stacked up. Each electrocyte can create and hold a charge of 105mV before the dialectic membrane breaks down.

Electric eels stack up to 200,000 electrocytes to form their stun weapons, capable of generating up to 860V in some species.

The combined cells are all closely synchronized such that each of the 200,000 electrocytes triggers at the same time. The whole device is known as a living Marx Generator.

The sheet organ capacitor is a bad idea because as your body flexes you can’t control the dialectic gap to prevent arcing. A crease in the skin will discharge your device.

Marx Generator

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    $\begingroup$ "The whole device is known as a living Marx Generator." And it shall be used to create a regime of peace and love! $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 29, 2019 at 4:48
  • $\begingroup$ @Vogon Poet Thanks, I didn't know a similar circuit has been used in technology. $\endgroup$
    – user69935
    Commented Oct 29, 2019 at 12:29
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A battery organ as primary energy storage is a horrible idea. Fat already stores almost as much energy as gasoline. Having a pair of electrical organs that utilize the bodies natural high energy storage (fat) and then just breathing a lot is far superior. To directly answer your question, for a battery the best you'll get is around 150 wh per kilogram for a hydronium ion battery. So for a subdermal battery organ this will work. Mostly it's good since it can maintain a higher current then electro organs. The electrocyte based organs will still be the source of electricity.

Unless you are able to pulse an organic laser very quickly to ionize an air channel you won't have ranged electric attacks. The pulse power has to be high but the energy can be less then a single joule. The ionized air channel will conduct electricity like a wire. Think directed lightning. It would be more effective as a wireless taser then an actual lightning bolt.

Sure you could discharge by touch, but at that point why not use a knife or claws? If these electric people fight one another, presumably their attacks won't particularly phase one another. They would have to be able to handle whatever it is they dish out to begin with.

A creative way would be to have thin ridges on the tongue or cheeks to ionize air leaving the lungs, then do a fast discharge to make plasma breath. Short range, but still fairly hot for a short while.

Mostly bioelectricity will assist with starting fires. Electrorwceptive organs could assist in seeing life underwater. Less useful for air the air. Magnetoreception will assist in navigation, though it won't be much better then a compass. Perhaps having a high voltage discharge across the skin to charge and repel dirt and moisture for hygienic purposes.

The obvious benefit of slowly charging electronics. Sure the rapid pulse that electric eels have would fry the electronics as someone else stated, but the controlled slower discharge of a battery organ could smooth that over.

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