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The following links claim that inventor Arturo Solis Herrera has created an "everlasting battery".

The article claims that:

Bat gen is the name of this ever-lasting battery. It consists of a biochemical process triggered by mixing water and melanin, which results in a substance capable of separating oxygen from hydrogen (the components of a water molecule), therefore liberating energy.

The process continues as the same molecule brings together both elements turning them into water again; as a result one more energy load is triggered.

According to Solis’ research, once this process is reached, it can continue for 100 years! Moreover, there are several ways of artificially producing the melanin found in human nails, hair and retina; two of them, which he already patented, are based on vegetables and oil.

Although they do not claim that the battery is perpetual, they seem to imply that mixing water and melanin can give an (oscillating?) reaction that can last for 100 years, providing cheap power.

Does this have any chemical basis? What matter is consumed?
Would that work without the user needing to add anything to the battery or is the article just describing the process in a misleading way?

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  • $\begingroup$ The article is not clear (I have not read the patent), but it doesn't look like this is claimed to be a perpetual motion (or infinite energy or free energy or other thermodynamics-breaking) device; instead it seems like it's supposed to be a (rechargeable) battery with a finite capacity but very long life. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 30, 2015 at 20:39
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    $\begingroup$ And glancing at the abstract, it seems to use a melanin-like derivative which is able to both 1) use solar power or other light source to drive electrolysis of water and produce hydrogen and oxygen (which may then be stored), and 2) recombine hydrogen and oxygen and release the energy as electricity. Basically a solar-powered rechargable hydrogen cell, not an infinite-energy claim. If the question were edited to be about whether the described technology works and would be feasible (not whether it's perpetual motion), I think it should be re-opened. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 30, 2015 at 20:46
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    $\begingroup$ The patent says that it's using ambient light as the source of energy. $\endgroup$
    – ChrisW
    Commented Jan 30, 2015 at 21:18
  • $\begingroup$ Ok that was important $\endgroup$
    – mplungjan
    Commented Jan 30, 2015 at 21:19
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    $\begingroup$ Oh boy is that patent painful to read. They didn't produce meaningful amounts of hydrogen, they claim it works with like 40 different substances, from 1 µL to litres, a huge list of electrodes… If it was this easy to hydrolyse water, it's a wonder our bodies don't just explode from all the melanin. Despite the craziness, it doesn't seem like they're claiming to make energy out of nothing. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 2, 2015 at 0:41

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I'm not sufficiently familiar with the chemistry involved to state authoritatively that this guy is full of bologna, but there are some pretty fantastic claims made in the second link. Also, if that's a US patent application, it's a disaster.

  1. The device is able to use any light from 900-200nm, mechanical agitation, sound, or magnetic fields (and unspecified "other") as sources of power.
  2. He has also made all of his cells inside Tupperware containers sealed by silicone caulking, so the 100-year claim is a bit sketchy.
  3. The inventor's testing methodology is pretty dubious as well. The device was placed in sunlight for 30 minutes and it experienced a change of pH from 7.3 to 7.1, therefore it works. Also, in his own words:

It is worth saying that such variation from 0.2 to 1.0 pH unit; and the reverse reaction that occurred once the containers were placed in a dark place, was anticipated by our theoric background, when we performed the experiments, we known already what was going to happen, as the matter of fact, we didn't do many experiments, we only made two or three times, obtaining the results we expected. {All grammar and spelling mistakes are those of the original author(s).}

That said, the idea of a cell that can catalytically break down water into hydrogen and oxygen using sunlight and then recombine them into water, extracting the energy, is not impossible by any stretch of the imagination. Designing a cell that is economically viable compared with silicon-based devices has yet to be accomplished, to the best of my knowledge.

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  • $\begingroup$ I believe he has applied for a Russian patent. Thanks $\endgroup$
    – mplungjan
    Commented Feb 2, 2015 at 4:55

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