Some years ago, when weeding a bed of spinach, I became acutely aware of just how much light was emanating from this vegetable; it was as if the spinach plants were casting a green energy all around me. So I was intrigued to read that the protein in spinach has been found to convert light into energy so readily that it is being combined with silicon to make hyper-efficient solar cells. This protein (PS1) can continue to photosynthesise even when extracted from the parent plant, and converts almost 100% of sunlight into energy – more than double the efficiency of today’s best ...


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