A new solution from researchers at Hebrew University could extend the shelf-life of leafy greens like this spinach up to a month. A new solution from researchers at Hebrew University could extend the shelf-life of leafy greens like this spinach up to a month. Spinach, a leafy green that's packed with nutrients, is being studied as a renewable energy source. (Photo: Ekaterina Kondratova/Shutterstock)

Veggie power: Is spinach the new solar?

There's a new movement to extract energy from leaves, and the results are pretty amazing.

There's no denying the power of spinach; it was all the fuel Popeye needed to save the day. But aside from its rightful place in TV history, spinach is also considered a nutritional powerhouse in real life – rich in iron and a great source of vitamins.

And now, researchers around the world are exploring its potential as a producer of super-efficient, super-sustainable clean energy. A paper recently published in the journal Nature Communications by scientists at the Technion Institute of Technology in Israel revealed a new bio-photo-electro-chemical cell that combines membranes extracted from spinach leaves and sunlight, producing a highly efficient flow of electrons.

According to the researchers, the cell "paves the way for the development of new technologies" that use water and solar energy, rather than harmful greenhouse gases.

The research was conducted under the guidance of Professor Noam Adir, dean of the Israeli institute's chemistry department. Also instrumental in the study were Technion doctoral students and professors.

In the video below, Adir explains the ins and outs of his research, and how this green leafy vegetable could be used as a clean, renewable energy source in the future.

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Veggie power: Is spinach the new solar?
There's a new movement to extract energy from leaves, and the results are pretty amazing.