- Title: JAPAN: Eco-friendly eel power helps up light up Christmas
- Date: 30th November 2010
- Summary: BABY LOOKING AT FISH
- Embargoed: 15th December 2010 12:00
- Location: Japan, Japan
- Country: Japan
- Topics: Arts / Culture / Entertainment / Showbiz,Science / Technology
- Reuters ID: LVA695CK21808G8W0TFMC7WQJGLI
- Story Text: Christmas is just around the corner, but it's not only humans who are are celebrating at the Enoshima Aquarium in Kamakura, Japan.
For five years, the aquarium south of Tokyo has featured an electric eel which lights up a Christmas tree using its own energy.
This year however, the display has been upgraded, as the eel is "collaborating" with an electric floor pad. The pad, when stepped on, generates electricity to illuminate additional lights on the tree.
"We first decided to get an electric eel to light up a Christmas tree and it's top ornament using its electricity. As electric eels use their muscles when generating a charge, we also thought to get humans to use their muscles to light up parts of the tree and to power Santa," said Enoshima Aquarium public relations team member Kazuhiko Minawa who designed and built the display.
The aquarium hopes that by experiencing the exhibit, visitors will realize how they too can create electricity, some of which also activates a dancing, singing human-sized Santa robot.
The muscle tissue of the south-american eel acts as a generator and can produce up to 800 Volts of electricity, at one ampere, according to the aquarium.
Each time the eel moves, it generates enough electricity to light up the Christmas tree.
Two aluminum panels inside the eel's tank work as electrodes to harness its electricity, supplying the lights on the nearby tree with power.
According to the aquarium's website, the display is also an attempt to encourage ecological sensitivity.
Although visitors were interested in the display, some doubted the practicality of relying on a nocturnal creature that tends to become dormant in daylight for their electricity.
"I don't think it's appropriate for home use quite yet, but if this was possible to do I think it's very nice and extremely eco-friendly," 24-year-old nurse Sumie Chiba said.
Others however, found that the the electricity generated from stepping on the electric floor pad was not only good for the wallet but good for the body as well.
"It feels like you're exercise walking. So if you can generate energy that way, I think it's good to be able to stomp around like that," said 42-year old welfare worker Shigeko Saito.
The display is open from November 6 until December 25.
The aquarium also features other Christmas exhibits such as wine glasses each containing a small jellyfish stacked into the shape of a Christmas tree.
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