Exactly what it says on the tin: what would be the structure and function of a naturally-evolved battery - i.e. a biological structure capable of storing electrical charge and powering an electrical circuit?

Please do not answer "a brain"; yes, I know it holds electricity, but those are electrical impulses that keep it functioning, rather than it being a storage organ in and of itself.

  • $\begingroup$ Are you sure you want this? Because chemical energy storage is much higher energy density than electrochemical storage. That's why we often use generators (and fuel cells for the really exotic applications) and not batteries. Are you sure you don't want something like a biological fuel cell instead? $\endgroup$
    – DKNguyen
    Sep 5, 2021 at 21:26
  • $\begingroup$ Brains function on chemical signals not electric ones $\endgroup$
    – user89947
    Sep 5, 2021 at 21:44
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Rad140 No, brains are regulated by chemical signals. Neurons use electricity as their signal transmission method. $\endgroup$
    Sep 5, 2021 at 21:45
  • $\begingroup$ @DKNguyen I want something that can maintain a charge constantly, rather than something that produces it constantly. $\endgroup$
    Sep 5, 2021 at 21:46
  • $\begingroup$ @KEY_ABRADE I hope you realize there is little distinction between the two. What's the difference between a pipe where water is flowing from it and a glass that is always full despite you drinking from it? $\endgroup$
    – DKNguyen
    Sep 5, 2021 at 21:49

1 Answer 1


Nature has already been there, done that, got the T-shirt.

Electric eels. 500 volts and 1 amp.

The electric eel generates large electric currents by way of a highly specialized nervous system that has the capacity to synchronize the activity of disc-shaped, electricity-producing cells packed into a specialized electric organ. The nervous system does this through a command nucleus that decides when the electric organ will fire. When the command is given, a complex array of nerves makes sure that the thousands of cells activate at once, no matter how far they are from the command nucleus.

Each electrogenic cell carries a negative charge of a little less than 100 millivolts on its outside compared to its inside. When the command signal arrives, the nerve terminal releases a minute puff of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter. This creates a transient path with low electrical resistance connecting the inside and the outside of one side of the cell. Thus, each cell behaves like a battery with the activated side carrying a negative charge and the opposite side a positive one.

As a point of clarification, batteries do NOT 'store electricity'. They store chemicals which, at the point of discharge, go through a chemical process which generates electricity. Capacitors store electricity. Rechargeable batteries use the applied electricity to reverse the chemical process, storing the energy in chemical form, for creating electricity later.

  • $\begingroup$ Upvoted.. same time, same idea (see comment) $\endgroup$
    – Goodies
    Sep 5, 2021 at 22:58
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, beat me to it, too :-) $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Sep 5, 2021 at 23:07

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