This week at TreeHugger: We dig up an all-American version of the smart car, monster-truck tires included. If you can bake a cake, you can make your own biodiesel; if you can pour a drink, you can run your car on leftover fryer grease. No matter where you are, it's been pretty damn hot, so we're pretty damn glad to see that someone produced a working solar-powered air conditioner. Lastly, music never sounded so good as it did this week with Tone Tubby's hempcone speaker cones.
Not everyone is convinced that the diminuitive smart car will be accepted here in the horsepower-hungry, gas-guzzling US of A; for anyone who isn't convinced the little guys are ready for prime-time American highways, have we got something for you. We'll affectionately call it the Jumbo Shrimp, and it sits 10 feet off the ground and could kick yer ass, son. The original three cylinder engine has been replaced by a 5.7 liter, six-cylinder diesel, and it was built by Mercedes-Benz in Athens. There's no word on fuel efficiency.
We've been making good use of an old book full of recipes for making anything in your garage or basement, from insecticides to soaps. Included in the guide for the hardy, capable, do-it-your-selfer are these immortal words to live by: "If you can bake a cake, you can make biodiesel." For people who aren't as handy in the garage (or the kitchen), we found this tasty guide to running your ride on straight grease. Though it's not exactly legal, there's no other fuel that makes the sweet smell of corn dogs, onion rings and french fries waft from the tailpipe while you cruise about town. If it's good enough for Pearl Jam's guitar player, it's good enough for us.
Most anybody in the world should be able to understand the need for solar-powered air conditioning this week; it's been awfully hot in an awful lot of places. With everyone is hiding inside while all of our electric utiilities go into overload, there's never been a better time for a sun-powered house, car and office-cooler. Thankfully, on June 22, a company called Matteran Energy fired up its new design for a low temperature system that produced 41 degree F temperature refrigeration using relatively warm water (160 degrees) right out of a common rooftop solar hot water heater. We're working up a sweat just thinking about it.
Lastly, the music has never sounded so good as it has this week, thanks to Tone Tubby's Hempcone speaker cones. Though we're well aware of hemp's groovy green properties, that isn't why they're using the stuff: they think it really sounds better. How do they figure? "Basically the Hempcone just produces more frequencies then you have ever heard out of a paper cone. It has more bass response, better mids and a sweeter high range unlike a paper cone's shrill highs and lack of true bass response. There is no cone cry or ghost notes with the Hempcone. The Hempcone also loves power. It increases the 20 watt paper cone Tone Tubby speaker to a 40 watt speaker." Wow; apparently, they've put their money where their mouths are: these professional grade speakers are so well liked that home and car speakers are on the drawing board too.
TreeHugger's EcoModo column appears every Tuesday on Gizmodo.