I'm not so sure that a direct approach to plant efficiency is the best one. After all, even if you get less electrical output from plants, you can still eat them!
So, as Ricky
would say, you can get 2 birds stoned!
As for genetic engineering...
I'm pretty much dead set against it at this point. So far it has only produced pain and misery. Just because you *can* do something, doesn't mean you *should* do something. Until there is some kind of sanity, accountability, responsibility, and actual moral conduct in the scientific world, genetic engineering will only continue to bring on misery and destruction.
This will never happen. The current system is fixed by design to work towards greater and greater evil. Doing good inside the current system is not possible. You cannot have a system that is designed to create conflict of interest actually work towards good. It doesn't work.
Cripes... we have a system where the patent holders sit on the committees to approve of things as safe, etc. etc. Broke. GE cannot be trusted in this environment.
There is some good coming out of GE, however, it's kind of like some guy giving you a handful of gold (a good thing), then when you peer behind him, you see piles of corpses and smashed teeth.
So I'm pretty much closed to hearing about the 1 good thing GE brings amidst the mountain of evil.
And, I've simply read too much on the topic. The process itself is technically (i.e. intrinsically) destructive, not to mention the problems of cross-contamination, patents, etc. If Satan were a scientist, he'd be a genetic engineer.
I've been looking into solar power a bit, and from what I can tell, it all boils down to cost per output weighed against that cost per square meter.
When you think about biomass, it's a pretty stupid approach to energy. i.e. Grow stuff > ferment stuff > burn stuff > turn generator > get electricity > rinse & repeat. It's a long process where you lose energy at every step. COP << 1.
The plant energy in the article above is pretty interesting as you're getting energy from the plants that they naturally give off, so wherever you have plants, you have energy. That could be a lawn, a farm, or whatever. Basically, you're just harvesting energy.
THAT seems like pretty exciting stuff!
Still, I like the Bearden/Bedini stuff best. Still reading there though... there's a lot of math and physics that I don't know and have to learn. e.g. Hamiltonian quaternions (Deozaan had mentioned this math in a post about 3D gaming a while back - it's pretty wild stuff).