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Germany generated so much renewable energy, electricity prices went negative

Over the weekend, Germany did something amazing: It produced so much solar, wind and hydro energy that the cost of electricity actually went negative for a few hours. Yes, companies were actually paying some people to use electricity. This is an incredible achievement, but it revealed a problem going forward.

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Extreme physics BBQ!

This is what happens when you pump mains electricity through a steak (using a kettle as a resistor), when you focus the beams from a strong light source onto one piece of steak, and when you try to fry prawns using a bottle rocket.

As electricity is forced through the steak, electrons interact with the atoms and molecules of the meat. As the steak doesn’t conduct very well, the electrons have to push very hard, and in doing so transfer energy to the meat - a process known as joule heating.

Parabolas focus all the incoming energy into one spot. We harnessed that to cook a steak.

And we whipped out our old favourite - bottle rockets - to fry our prawns. Had to sort out a projectile prawn issue first, though.

Click here to watch the whole video on our YouTube channel. And check out the extreme chemistry approach over at Brit Lab.