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Popeye Power: EPA Funds Spinach Research as an Oil Substitute

Written by Gary North on May 3, 2012

The Environmental Protection Agency never sleeps in its quest for environmentally friendly energy. So, it awarded $90,000 to students at Vanderbilt University to work on a project. The students think they can get net energy out of spinach.

The students know a good thing when it comes along. The good thing is $90,000.

The students designed a solar panel that substitutes a protein derived from spinach in place of silicon wafers. These wafers are energy-intensive to produce — a fact that rarely creeps into stories about solar power.

Electricity from spinach: now that’s a concept to please kids everywhere. “Mom, I don’t think I should eat any spinach. I want to do my part in reducing America’s dependence on imported energy.”

The team of four students also won the Marketplace Innovation Award from Paladin Capital.

Here is the inside dope. “A miniature bio-cell can produce minute electricity from Photosystem I (PSI), the protein in plant chloroplasts that converts light to electrochemical energy.”

The students won the grant, one professor said, despite “nagging doubts about how the slight power from the panel would convince the judges.”

Somehow, I think Vanderbilt students whose parents shell out $50,000 a year did not have doubts that nagged that much. The hope of splitting 90 grand has a calming effect on nagging doubts.

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16 thoughts on “Popeye Power: EPA Funds Spinach Research as an Oil Substitute

  1. Patriot1776 says:

    How perfect, green energy from spinach, and Wimpy saying "I'll gladly pay you tomorrow for a hamburger today". Sounds like the obama administration.

  2. ProfSmith says:

    First corn, now spinach, next potatoes? When will we stop trying to run our cars on our food supply? Ethanol has been a disaster in so many ways and is heavily subsidized. Spinach is a less productive crop yield. What are they thinking? Oh, I forgot, they aren't thinking.

  3. sean murry says:

    Another waste of tax payer money.

  4. What was the EPA doing, giving out taxpayers money to fund research? If the students want to set up a research company, they should find investors willing to fund them just as the rest of us do and they can use their toys as collateral for the loan (iphones,ipads, 53" tvs, Smarts-for-two, GameBoys etc.)

    The EPA is out of control: It has become a taxing authority, rule making authority, police power, commerce authority and a tyranical agency in every respect. Get rid of it.

  5. blh557 says:

    Okay, you know, of course, that you can built a rudimentary battery by placing two electrodes in a potato and placing a resistor between the poles.

    You can even generate some electricity by adding a battery.

    It's genius, I tell ya! Where's my $90K?

  6. I thought that there was a stipulation in OBAMACARE that we had to eat spinach at least once a day, Now they are going to try to turn it into fuel? I guess we well drinking spinach fuel to get our daily recommeded intake. WHAT IS THE EPA GOING TO DO NEXT? IDIOTS!

  7. Erik Osbun says:

    THE EXPANSION OF THE WORLD OF SFB TO THE TUNE OF 90K! How about that spinach lovers?

  8. Paul Divine says:

    I, for one, give thanks to those who are persueing this new development. All new discoveries are worth the cost and effort involved. Remember how Nicola Tesla, Thomas Edison, Ely Whitney, Alexander Graham bell and Maconi invented and develped things that made the world for the better and resulted in producing things we now woud be hard pressed to do without. All of these people were critisized and ridaculed when they were developing their ideas.Please let these people discover and produce new inventions and products that could possibly be of great benefit to the people of this world in the future. As information, there is enough vacant acres of tilable land in this nation that could be used to raise an additional one million tons of spinach per year. Tell those who are developing this technology to just keep going.

  9. Were the scientists that you mentioned funded by the gov't (stealing from taxpayers), or were they self/privately funded (personal investment choice)?

  10. rationalconservative says:

    There was a highschool kid in Oregon that created biodiesel from a prolific weed – scotchbroom 3 or 4 years ago for his science fair project.
    I don't know why they need large research grants for things that have already been done, and if they were going to pick something, Dandilions would be a better choice. most of us have plenty of those to spare.

  11. Softballumpire says:

    Does your spell check function, are you illiterate or are you a product of the liberal education system. I have a daughter, severely dyslexic, who placed second in the State Forestry Skills Tool Identification event where spelling counts. Her placement was behind her brother. My children would suggest that you have a severe need for a cranialanalectomy.

  12. "they should find investors willing to fund them just as the rest of us do"…SPOT ON. I believe the EPA is working, along with other agencies, for a Return to the Primitive lifestyle anyway, and we are footing the bill for it.

  13. Wimpy…how PRICELESS! I haven't laughed all day. Thanks for making mine better!!!

  14. He who travels far and wide, learns more than by his own fireside. Let me show you how to make nail soup.

  15. GOOD point!! They were on their own and there was no EPA to "regulate" them.

  16. In all those words there were only 7 misspelled words. Paul has a much more serious problem of logical thinking. The article was not about criticism of the research but rather the funding by taxpayers.