Called Nespresso Battery, the installation uses aluminium in the capsules together with strips of copper, coffee grounds and salt water to make batteries.
Six pots linked together power a clock, while the whole installation would run a small radio.
Here's some more information from Katharina Mischer and Thomas Traxler:
"Nespresso Battery - there is a lot of energy in Nespresso Capsules"
The installation 'Nespresso-Battery' demonstrates the energy in Nespresso Capsules. Invisible Energy becomes visual via ticking sweep hands and thus shows the importance of collecting and recycling the valuable material aluminium.
The energy for the movement of the sweep hands is powered by 17 simple, self made batteries. Each battery-block consists of used old aluminium capsules, coffee grounds, strips of copper and salt water. In this mixture between a soil battery and a salt water battery the aluminium functions as the anode, the copper as cathode and the salt water as electrolyte. Due to a chemical reactions a small, but usable, amount of energy is created. Each battery produces about 1,5 - 1,7 Volts of potential and enough power to run a electro - mechanical Quartz clockwork.
The content of all batteries (old capsules and coffee grounds) is about ~ 680 -700 Nespresso Capsules - an average year consumption of one person. All 17 batteries interconnected and well moistened would be able to power a small radio. The installation wants to encourage customers to bring their used Nespresso Capsules back to the Boutiques and other collection facilities, in order to be recycled.
Design Competition: SUSTAIN.ABILITY.DESIGN
As part of the VIENNA DESIGN WEEK 2010, Nespresso Austria and the Neigungsgruppe Design are co-sponsoring their first invited contest. Accessories and coffee machines are just as much a part of the brand’s identity as the 16 Grands Crus, so Nespresso and the VIENNA DESIGN WEEK had to meet up. The designers Megumi Ito, Tina Lehner, Patrick Rampelotto, mischer’traxler, and dottings started off with free associations on urban living, lifestyle, and coffee. Aluminium accentuates the durability programme EcolaborationTM by Nespresso, based on work with 100-% recyclable materials and/or Nespresso capsules. Three projects selected by a panel of experts will be presented at the Nespresso Boutique during the VIENNA DESIGN WEEK.
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