EcoModo - The Best of TreeHugger

This week on TreeHugger, could zeppelins take over the skies from airplanes? How come we don't have "NoMix" toilets in the US? More energy-dense batteries thanks to lithium-sulfur? And more!

After Smart Grids, Smart Sewage? Urine-Separating NoMix Toilet Gets Thumbs-Up in 7 European Countries
If we had "NoMix" toilets that separate urine from solid waste, municipal wastewater plants would have a significantly easier task (and produce more methane to generate electricity), and we could much more easily extract precious nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen for use as fertilizer (instead of using fossil fuels). So what's stopping us from going NoMix?

5 Crazy But Clever Places to Put Data Centers
Data centers suck up a lot of energy, so it pays to put servers in places that can keep them cool and running efficiently. While some companies are choosing to make what they have work better, others are thinking location, location, location. And when it comes to hunting out ideal locations, well, the sky is the limit.

Are Zeppelins the Future of Air Travel?
Humans have long concocted glorious images of flying machines with an aspiration to defy gravity. With air travel called into question due to issues including fuel consumption and the effect that airplane contrails have on the earth's atmosphere when emitted at high altitudes, we now see Zeppelins making a comeback.

Robert Llewellyn's Gearless Update: Reviewing the MiEV and Much More (Video)
We were excited the other day to learn about Robert Llewellyn's Gearless show in which he will be driving and reviewing a Mitsubishi MiEV over the course of an entire year. (Robert previously filmed a test drive of the MiEV for his carpool show.) But we weren't entirely clear on what exactly he will be doing to fill up the entire year. In the video below, he reveals more. And boy does it look like he has a busy year ahead.

My Year of "E" or, Joining the Electric Bike Revolution
One cold January day I rode the eneloop up the big hill near my house in Portland and on to the even bigger hill of Mt. Tabor. And I was completely sold. That's why I decide to document my first year of e-biking, to see if a) I lose or gain any weight b) ride more or less than I habitually have done (imperfectly measured by a rise or fall in my Zipcar bills, and c) find a noticeable increase in my electric bill from frequent charging of the bike (estimated to be just a few cents per charge, which takes 3.5 hours).

Lithium-Sulfur Breakthrough Could Mean Safer and More Energy-Dense Batteries
A few months ago we wrote about a battery breakthrough related to silicon nanowire anodes. The researchers said that it showed great promise, but that one of the main challenges to its commercialization was finding a cathode that could handle all this extra power. Well, it looks like that problem has been solved (that was quick!) thanks to a new lithium sulfide (Li2S) cathode with 10 times the power density of conventional lithium-ion cathodes.

ArmorLite CFL Keeps Mercury Inside Protective Coating if Bulb Breaks
A new cover for a CFL keeps broken pieces from scattering, and you from getting anywhere near Mercury.

LED Street-Lights are Greenest Choice, Life-Cycle Study Shows
It always sucks to invest a lot of time and money into something only to later realize that it's not nearly as good as we were first led to believe (*cough* corn ethanol *cough*). Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have conducted the first cradle-to-grave assessment of LED streetlights, and the results are interesting.

Smart Energy Glass Turns On And Off, Generates Electricity
Liquid crystal switching windows have been around for a while, and just last week Mike wrote about how Energy-Saving Dynamically Tinted Glass Could Make Most Buildings More Efficient. Now Dutch entrepreneurs Casper van Oosten and Teun Wagenaar have taken switchable glass one step further: their Smart Energy Glass collects solar energy and generates its own power.

TreeHugger's EcoModo column appears every Tuesday on Gizmodo.