Scientists turn to Popeye to save planet
Scientists have enlisted a new ally in the battle to save the planet - Popeye.
They have found that spinach, which gives the cartoon sailor hissuperhuman strength, could be the power source the world needs to combat global warming. The discovery could lead to a new version of the old instruction: "Heat up your greens."
Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology reported last week that the leafy vegetable could provide the missing ingredient needed to make solar cells sufficiently cheap and efficient to provide the world with electricity. The cells work by harnessing the power of photosynthesis to covert light into electrical energy.
The MIT team - which reports its findings in the current issue of the scientific magazine Nano Letters - isolated photosynthetic proteins from the leaves, laid them on a thin gold film, and covered them with an organic material that conducts electricity. When they shone light on this high-tech sandwich, power was produced.
Professor Marc Dando said that they aimed "to take advantage of two billion years of evolution" by building on the way that nature had developed to convert sunlight into electricity, rather than doing it artificially.
But why spinach? "There's a lot of it and it's very, very green."He added that the team was now experimenting with peas too, and had thought of using "Olive Oyl" as a stabiliser.
The olive is actually ahead in providing green energy. Five power stations burning olive oil already supply homes in Andalusia, Spain.
Fracking shame: Full threat to British wildlife is laid bare in a new report showing up to half the country could be licensed for shale gas extraction
Powerlines disturb animal habitats by appearing as disturbing flashes of UV light invisible to the human eye
Python eats croc: when two (or more) species go to war - the 12 most amazing animal battles ever recorded
The 10 best folding bikes
10 best hiking boots
- 1 Hells of residence: Inside Macedonia's horrifying student accommodation - where the walls are green and the food is black
- 2 Boy George: Bad karma
- 3 Rachel Canning: US teenager returns home after she tried to sue her parents for child support
- 4 First Kiss video: Filmmaker gets 20 strangers to make out on YouTube with awkward results
- 5 Rampaging elephant smashes up house but then 'saves crying baby trapped under debris'
Katie Hopkins continues campaign to become Britain's most hated talking head with poorly timed Bob Crow tweet
No EU referendum under Labour: Ed Miliband to reveal that vote on membership is ‘unlikely’ in next Parliament if party wins power
Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate
Ukraine crisis: Russia pledges to 'retaliate against sanctions' as Ukrainian president says Crimea vote will not be recognised
Fracking is turning the US into a bigger oil producer than Saudi Arabia
The quiet diplomat: Catherine Ashton - recognised and admired in all the world’s troubled countries, yet ridiculed at home
£40000 - £60000 per annum + Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: Commercial ...
£1000 per month: Inspiring Interns: This company is one of the top two gaming ...
£20,000 to £30,000: IT Connections Ltd: Java Developer / Graduate / Web Develo...
£30,000 to £40,000: IT Connections Ltd: Java / J2EE Developer / Agile / Linux ...