50 Interesting Facts About Electricity

Last updated on July 14th, 2023

36. The biggest source of electricity in the world is coal. Coal is harvested and used in thermal power stations. When the coal is burned, it turns water to steam which then powers a turbine that turns on a shaft that is connected to a generator. This generator produces electricity.

37. Birds do not get electrocuted when they perch on a power line because they only touch one power line. If the bird happens to come in contact with another line, this action creates a circuit, allowing the electricity to flow through the body of the bird. This causes electrocution.

38. You can never outrun lightning, even if you tried. A bolt of lightning can go as fast as 130,000 mph. It can also cause serious to fatal burns, since lightning can reach around 54,000° Fahrenheit.

39. Australia recorded its first electricity use in 1878 when the General Post Office in Sidney was lighted.

40. How fast does electricity travel? Scientists have proven that it is as fast as the speed of light, which is 670,616,629 mph.

41. Electric cars are not a 21st-century invention. The technology dates back between 1832 to 1839. The first electric vehicle was developed by Robert Anderson, a Scottish inventor. He developed the prototype of a carriage powered by electricity that derived power from non-rechargeable batteries. This is essentially the first horseless carriage, coming before the gasoline-powered vehicles.

42. In 1896, Menelik II was emperor of Ethiopia. He bought two electric chairs to use as a humane form of punishment. However, he failed to realize that the chairs actually required electricity to work and the country did not have any at the time. According to some sources, Menelik used one of the chairs for his throne but this has never been proven and rather unlikely.

Wind Mills, facts about electricity
Wind Mills. Wind mills help generate electricity using the wind energy and converting it into mechanical energy which in turn is converted to electrical energy. Image credit – ilirjan rrumbullaku

43. Because coal is sourced from non-renewable fossil fuels, finding alternative and renewable sources has become critical. Although solar, wind, and water-powered electricity are already available, they are not as widely accessible in many countries to completely replace fossil fuel.

44. The reason why humans (and animals) are susceptible to electric shock if exposed is that around 60% of our bodies are made of water. Water, as we all know, is conductive. Once electricity comes in contact with a body, it will look for the path of least resistance, which is water inside the body. This is why electric shock occurs.

45. Electricity can be sourced from organisms. Albertville in France use cheese to produce electricity. Beaufort cheese does not require whey, so it is combined with bacteria. The mixture turns the whey into biogas which is used to power an electric engine. This engine heats up water, generating electricity.

46. Electricity powers the heart, causing the muscles to contract and beat. It is this electricity that goes through your heart that the ECG (electrocardiogram) machine measures.

47. If you have a microwave oven that has a digital clock, know that this clock uses up more electricity than the oven does to heat up food.

An electric eel
An electric eel. Image credit – Scott

48. Electric eels do indeed deserve their moniker. About 80% of an eel’s body is made up of electrolytes. This allows the eel to generate about 500 volts of shock.

49. At rest, the average human produces about 100 watts of useful energy. If he or she engages in activities that increase the heart rate quickly, he/she may produce more than 2,000 watts.

50. Although having humans run on treadmills periodically may seem like the perfect solution to tap a source of power for the robot overlords in The Matrix, we may not actually work as efficient batteries at all. Much of the energy that the human body produces is used to power the organs, such as the heart. The rest is generated as body heat.