Far out power (satire): Biofuels made from the victims of climate change, potato power, founding fathers spinning in graves

Preface. Most breakthroughs you read about in batteries, hydrogen, and other fossil fuel replacements are about as likely as these are

Alice Friedemann   www.energyskeptic.com  author of “When Trucks Stop Running: Energy and the Future of Transportation”, 2015, Springer, Barriers to Making Algal Biofuels, and “Crunch! Whole Grain Artisan Chips and Crackers”. Podcasts: Collapse Chronicles, Derrick Jensen, Practical Prepping, KunstlerCast 253, KunstlerCast278, Peak Prosperity , XX2 report


Biofuels made from the victims of climate change

Potato Power

The potato battery is a type of electrochemical battery, or cell. Certain metals (zinc in the demonstration below) experience a chemical reaction with the acids inside of the potato. This chemical reaction creates the electrical energy that can power a small device like an LED light or clock (SFF 2018). 

The satirical Onion proposes powering cities on Potato Power.  But why not — potatoes are renewable, unlike wind, solar, wave, nuclear, and all other contraptions that depend on fossils for every step of their life cycle.

KNOXVILLE, TN—In what many experts are hailing as a game changer in the field of renewable energy, scientists from the University of Tennessee unveiled Friday a 10-story-tall, 800,000-ton potato capable of powering an entire city. “Our tests have demonstrated this single potato can generate more than 3.5 gigawatts of clean, renewable electricity,” said civil engineering professor Lauren Donaldson, explaining that the colossal tuber, when connected to the electrical grid via one zinc and one copper electrode, could provide enough output to illuminate approximately 70 million standard light bulbs for more than a decade. “In theory, the nation’s energy infrastructure could be revolutionized simply by placing one of these gigantic potatoes next to every city in America. We believe it is entirely conceivable that within 20 years, this technology—perhaps supplemented by several similar-sized lemons connected via lengths of wire and paper clips—could be our primary source of electricity. One day, everything from home appliances to cars to factories may be potato-powered.” Donaldson added that her team’s potato also had the benefit of being largely pollution-free, as nearly 98 percent of its waste products would be fried-up and eaten afterward (The Onion 2020).

Department Of Energy Finds Founding Fathers Spinning In Graves Could Power Country For Next 100 Years (Boffa 2020)

A new report from the Department of Energy has uncovered an unforeseen source of mechanical kinetic energy: our Founding Fathers spinning in their graves.  “For decades, our nation has lamented the fact that John Adams is likely oscillating in his coffin,” said a spokesperson. “But we’re only now discovering that our Founding Fathers’ rotational exasperation at the state of America today is a source of clean, white-hot fuel, comparable to over 15,000 nuclear reactors. Environmental scientists were quick to remind reporters that from a Constitutional standpoint, of course we should respect the laws on which America was founded. But from a sustainability standpoint, they urged the public to do everything possible to anger the ghost of Benjamin Franklin. “This source of combustion was first ignited during the freeing of slaves, and boosted by women’s suffrage. But if we’re serious about fighting climate change, we recommend kicking the spinning up a notch by permanently banning all firearms, censoring large amounts of speech, and implementing fully-automated luxury space gay communism.”


Boffa, W. 2020. Department Of Energy Finds Founding Fathers Spinning In Graves Could Power Country For Next 100 Years. Unsubscribed.

SFF. 2018. Potato power! Science Fair Fun.

The Onion. 2020. Green Energy Scientists Unveil 800,000-Ton Potato Capable Of Powering Entire City. TheOnion.com

Yes Men: Vivoleum, feat. Reggie Watts. https://vimeo.com/129357544

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2 Responses to Far out power (satire): Biofuels made from the victims of climate change, potato power, founding fathers spinning in graves

  1. Bernard Beveridge says:

    For a really great summary of alternative energy feasibilities I highly recommend checking out Tom Murphy’s “Do The Math” blog (www.dothemath.ucsd.edu). Look for his post (2012-02-07) “The Alternative Energy Matrix” where he gives each alternative a rating of 1-5. There are 20 alternative sources in his marix. A few sample ratings are: Solar PV (5), Hydro (4), Wind (3), Uranium Breeder (2), Ocean Thermal (1). Somehow, however, Tom failed to include potatoes. Oh well, no one is perfect!

  2. CamryHybrid says:

    ROCCO’S REPORTS: THE GREEN ELECTRIC CAR MYTH: 772 Pounds Of Petro-Chemical Plastics In Each Vehicle

    A Tesla 3 EV car is heavier than a Toyota Camry Hybrid by hundreds of kilograms.

    Effectively, 5 passengers are always riding with you the Tesla, even when you are alone driving to the nearby supermarket for a bottle of water.

    Is this efficiency or a massacre of Energy building, moving the car and then repairing it against wear and tear – such as excessive tyre wear out?

    Why our Western Civilisation has been so determined to deplete all fossil fuels reserves the quickest possible, burning them to waste in playing the game of false realities?

    Puzzling, sad and inhumane.

    Later in history, people might be seen wailing the wasted fossil fuels, their own primitive nature and man’s evolving quality.