Since in rusting (oxidation) of Iron, transfer of 4 electrons takes place is it possible to use this reaction under catalytic conditions to create a simple electric cell, even if it just gave a millivolt of potential.

$\ce {Fe + H2O -> FeOH3 + H2}$

Considering that we have complete control over the surroundings, like volume expansion, disposing hydrogen and other such factors.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Yeah in theory is possible, but the efficiency would be se low that it will be practicaly useless :x $\endgroup$
    – Babounet
    Jan 13, 2015 at 16:04
  • $\begingroup$ @Babounet, I know the efficiency is less but I require it to perform a very small task, that's why. and if we catalyse the reaction it can give good results. $\endgroup$
    – user10153
    Jan 14, 2015 at 14:58

1 Answer 1


Sure! A nickel-iron battery uses the oxidation of iron at the negative plate to produce about half the voltage. Though invented by Jungner, it's often called an Edison battery. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nickel%E2%80%93iron_battery.

There are very low power semiconductor devices which could be powered by an iron battery. You could make three or four small cells from iron nails and a more electronegative element, e.g. lead, to power a digital watch; even without optimization to remove layers of hydrogen and rust, it should operate for months.

For some other low power ideas, see https://www.enocean.com/en/energy-harvesting/.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.