Artichoke power!

Spanish villages plan to burn giant veggies for electricity.

Published June 6, 2000 7:00PM (EDT)

In two years, the northern Spanish towns of Villabilla de Burgos and Alcala de Gurrea will be running on artichokes. No kidding!

According to a Reuters report, the towns plan to burn giant, 10-foot-high artichokes at their twin power stations to convert the thorny vegetables to electricity.

Ten-foot-high artichokes? Yup. Spanish farmers, with a little financial help from European Union subsidies and the towns' electricity generator, have been raising genetically modified "monster vegetables" with 23-foot-long roots. These larger-than-life artichokes may be unfit for human consumption, but once burned, they will provide the power to supply Villabilla de Burgos' and Alcala de Gurrea's 60,000 residents with electricity.

The idea of burning plants for energy has been around for quite a while, but nobody paid it much attention until the environment began to crumble and decay before our very eyes. Now that our resources are running out, governments are turning to plant life. Last year, a project was proposed in Ireland to burn the wonderfully diverse cannabis plant for electricity, but it was dropped, alas, because, reported Reuters, "it was considered too expensive compared with wind power projects."

Now, finally, somebody is going to use plants for power -- and not a moment too soon. Long live the artichoke!

By J.A. Getzlaff

J.A. Getzlaff's Daily Planet appears every weekday. Do you have a tip or tale for J.A.? Send it to

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