If I were to have a creature that powered its cells via electricity instead of through cellular respiration and obtained that electricity from an internal organ that acted as a sort of generator or battery, how might it transport this electricity throughout its body to the cells in need of powering? Might it utilize a series of insulated "wires" in place of a normal circulatory system and if so, would these cords spark if they were severed?

Just in case this might be pertinent or helpful in any way:

  • The creature is a 165 foot tall kaiju with a body shape similar to Godzilla's. (I understand that there are countless feasibility issues facing a creature this size, but I'm not concerning myself with those at the moment.)
  • Its caloric requirements would be great. I can't give an exact figure, as I don't have the expertise to carry out the necessary calculations, but the Legendary Pictures' Godzilla, which is twice this animal's size would need about 200 million kilocalories a day.
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    $\begingroup$ What is a lot of energy? can you quantify? $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Nov 26, 2017 at 17:27
  • $\begingroup$ From where does the animal get the "electricity" (whatever you believe it to be)? $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Nov 26, 2017 at 17:32
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    $\begingroup$ I hope you are aware that electricity is an energy carrier, not an energy source... $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Nov 26, 2017 at 17:53
  • $\begingroup$ let's say it requires 200 million calories a day- a quantity that couldn't feasibly be obtained from food consumption. The electricity is generated via an internal reactor and transported throughout the body. From what I understand, electricity carries electrons, hence a carrier, but it should be abundantly evident I'm not well versed in these matters. $\endgroup$ Nov 26, 2017 at 18:28
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    $\begingroup$ It is unclear what you are asking for. We could interpret as meaning this "being" can tap into an existing electrical source and convert it to chemical energy it will then use "normally" or that you have something that eats normally, but converts large part of its energy to electrical and uses that to power its muscles. The two things are vastly different (and other interpretations are possible). Please clarify otherwise you seriously risk question being closed. $\endgroup$
    – ZioByte
    Nov 26, 2017 at 18:42

2 Answers 2


Though the question is not clear enough, I think the followings may be helpful.

  • "The voltage would be high I imagine, as this animal would require a lot of energy!"

To obtain a lot of energy, it is not necessary to have high voltage.

Power = Voltage x Current and Energy = Power x Time

Therefore the important thing is the product of the current and the voltage to obtain high energy.

That is a tradeoff! Increasing the voltage level is preferred for AC while carrying it to long distances. On the other hand, very low voltages and high current is preferred for the core voltages of the contemporary processors. You have to decide according to the design of your animal. (How fast should the electrical signals rise and fall? How much voltage drop is acceptable? How much should we care about the electromagnetic interaction between very close wires? etc. etc.)

  • How big is your animal?

Assume an ordinary adult consumes 2000kcals/day and this yields almost 100W power consumption. If a direct proportion is assumed for body height and power consumption, then your 165-foot-animal consumes ~30 times more power than a human (Again assuming it is not faster, not hotter or it does not exhale fire like a dragon etc.) then 3kW power is required. Analogous to two working typical hair dryers.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Scaling probably shouldn't be linear here, because power consumption is determined by the amount of body cells powered, i.e. body volume. So it should be 30*30*30*100W = 2.7MW, similar to, say, a town with 1000 residents. Looks a bit high, but well, it's "Godzilla". $\endgroup$
    – ZuOverture
    Nov 28, 2017 at 3:35
  • $\begingroup$ If the animal has a cubic shape, you are right but if it only looks like an extremely tall human, then number of cells and the body volume is going to be 30 x human's. İncreasing only in height is assumed. $\endgroup$ Nov 28, 2017 at 4:13
  • $\begingroup$ Isn't "Godzilla" power consumption comparable to just two hair dryers disturbing you? Do you think 165ft tall "Godzilla" should have the same width and depth as average human, i.e. 1.5ft and 1ft respectively? What's that, an oversized pencil? $\endgroup$
    – ZuOverture
    Nov 28, 2017 at 4:42

If the acquisition of electrical energy is done through an "anaerobic" process (then performed on a large surface), you have to decide whether this energy is centralized or not:

Centralized or Decentralized

A centralized mean of transportation would looks like human's blood distribution system: with larger to smaller wires like human's major arteries and smaller ones.

A decentralized way is like the mesh you describe implies a uniform distribution of power in its body, its organs would share power and be in electrical equilibrium.

According to : Biology SE Maintaining life (at a human scale) doesn't need much power: 80 watts, on an electrical scale it is a common light bulb, then it is your choice to determine current and voltage in your creature body: whether it is harmful or not to cut your creature's spine.

$$ Power = Volt * Current $$ Harmfulness is a combination of high "enough" voltage for your body resistance, current and exposure time. Very high voltage produces electric arcs (31.3 kiloVolts are needed for an arc in 1.0cm of air ...)

Also voltage and current in its body could vary accordingly with its energy consumption, it would be higher when providing a physical or mental effort.

The question of storage

One thing to think about is that electricity has to be either Generated continuously and/or Stored

I don't think your creature couldn't store Electrical energy, as it is very fast to propagate, as soon as it stops "breathing electricity" it would die.

That's why it should have a system to store electrical power (into another form of potential):

  • chemical batteries (fat is the chemical battery of the human body)
  • store a liquid higher up or under pressure (see Pumped-storage)

Further reading at : Energy Storage Wiki

Some uses

I am throwing you real life examples of the use of electricity in animal life, to get a better look at the implications of "living with electricity"

  • Some eels use electricity to kill
  • Some eels/fishes/sharks are blind and use electricity to locate themselves and preys by emitting a magnetic field Sharks
  • Some fishes/sharks/platypus can "sense conductivity" in water and thus determine its quality and/or its composition Water Quality
  • $\begingroup$ This is some excellent info. Thanks! Out of curiosity, say my creature is supposed to be equipped with a reactor that can perpetually provide it with electricity, would it ever have to worry about not "breathing electricity" under these circumstances? $\endgroup$ Nov 26, 2017 at 19:18

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