This week at TreeHugger: MIT researchers have made a new proton membrane that boosts the efficiency of methanol fuel cells by more than 50%. That has big implications for portable electronics. A photo of the new "Model S" electric sedan by Tesla Motors has surface. Not 100% official yet, but probably what it will look like. Finally, Epson has a new LCD display technology that is easier to see in bright light and uses less power. Many researchers and engineers have wanted to replace batteries in consumer electronics with methanol fuel cells for a while, but their big weakness so far has been the proton membrane. "The more protons cross the membrane, the more power is generated. But the polymers that conduct protons well also tend to let the methanol solution into the other compartment. The resulting loss of fuel lowers the cells' power output." Kind of a catch 22. Until now! More details here. Tesla says the Model S will get about 240 miles per charge [on lithium-ion batteries] while still offering "exceptional performance." Numbers being bandied about include 0โ€“60 mph in less than 6 seconds. The Model S will have a base price of about $60,000 (versus the Roadster's $109,000 price tag). In an effort to improve the energy efficiency of mobile device displays, Epson released their Photo Find High Reflect (HR) transflective amorphous silicon TFT (a-TFT) LCD. Basically it is a technology that will help make the screens of mobile devices highly visible even in direct sunlight, while not consuming very much energy. So you can actually read your cell phone screen while outside and your battery life is extended. TreeHugger's EcoModo column appears every Tuesday on Gizmodo.

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