Spinach: The Popeye energy policy
The USA is the only nation in the world that prohibits itself from exploring and exploiting its own oil resources, by decree. Now, this,
President Obama recently touted algae as a potential source of energy, and now the Environmental Protection Agency has invested in converting spinach into an energy source.
The EPA awarded a $90,000 grant over the weekend to Vanderbilt University students “who designed a biohybrid solar panel that substitutes a protein from spinach for expensive silicon wafers that are energy intensive to produce, and is capable of producing electricity.”
The team of engineering students — Eric Dilbone, Phil Ingram, Trevan Locke, Paul McDonald and Jason Ogg — “also won the Marketplace Innovation Award from Paladin Capital, a private equity firm, and the Student Choice Award, a special nod from their peers in competition,” according to Vanderbilt.
The idea is that “a miniature bio-cell can produce minute electricity from Photosystem I (PSI), the protein in plant chloroplasts that converts light to electrochemical energy.”
We’re not talking megawatts here:
They won the grant despite “nagging doubts about how the slight power from the panel would convince the judges,” one Vanderbilt professor explained.
Heck, when my son was little, Santa gave him a potato clock for Christmas. I wonder how much I could get from the EPA if a canister of Pringle’s could pass for a “biohybrid solar panel”.
As far as spinach goes, Mr. Bingley’s got the gold standard. For those who remember Popeye, here’s Symphony in Spinach,
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