Last week there seemed to be a mini-media feeding frenzy about a story of a product design student who had claimed to have designed as part of her final university project a 'greenphone' which was powered by Coca-Cola.
Daizi Zheng, a graduate of Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London, claimed the prototype could run up to four times longer than a traditional lithium ion battery and had the potential to be fully biodegradable.
The greenphone's bio battery generates electricity using enzymes to catalyse sugar in the drink. As the battery dies out, only water and oxygen are left behind.
Zheng put forward the concept to Finnish mobile phone manufacturer Nokia, who tactfully said they would not be developing the greenphone prototype further in the near future.
Zheng was reported as saying that bio batteries are being developed by large electronics companies and may be on the market in the next five years.
To be honest I am rather doubtful that we will be seeing many bio batteries in five years and if we do I doubt they will mix very well with consumers who are the move - which is pretty much the target audience for mobile phones. All that potential shaking in warm environments and who knows what will happen. It is likely to be messy but at least it should be biodegradable. In fact you only have to open a warm can of Coke after it has been shaken and hey presto.
So as a practical idea the 'greenphone' concept has a way to go to become a reality and it shows that runtime is not always the best criteria for judging a power source design.
At least Zheng knows she had dreamt up a 'media-friendly' idea which would attract marketing-focused mobile phone companies. With this in mind perhaps Nokia was not the most obvious mobile phone company to approach with a sugar powered energy source.
Perhaps the most obvious candidate would have been Orange. After all if you add copious amounts of sugar to oranges you can at least make Marmalade if not a phone call. Apple and Blackberry may have been worth a call too.