This week at TreeHugger: Check out Aquaskipper, a human-powered watercraft that offers fuel-free transportation and a way to look really cool, too. We find more evidence that rechargeable batteries are the green way to go for powering your gadgets, via a life cycle assessment of rechargeable batteries versus disposables. At TreeHugger, we've seen our fair share of LED bulbs with wimpy light output; these new bulbs pump out the lumens and last for 10 or 15 years. Lastly, researchers in Michigan are working on floors made out of cow manure. Could this be something you'd really bring in to your house?
The Aquaskipper has leapt from the drawing board and into the water as the latest inventive but impractical and crazy human-powered vehicle. While something like a windsurfer still seems a more practical fuel-free transport for one on the water, this gadget does have the advantage of having the ability to make you look really cool while in action. A gentle hopping motion will get this puppy rocking up to 17 mph, powered by an underwater hydrofoil that flaps along with your hopping.
Just in case there was any question, we found more evidence that rechargeable batteries are indeed the green way to go when it comes to powering your gadgets. A group of Aussies have proven the point with a life cycle assessment of rechargeable batteries versus disposables; as it turns out, rechargeable batteries, including a charger, are several steps beyond the environmental performance of regular alkaline batteries.
Sure, we've seen our fair share of LED bulbs by now, but they've tended to come up a little short on the light output...until now. This 9W bulb claims to replace a 70W incandescent bulb, and there's a frosted version, too, that cranks out 594 lumens (that's a lot, or a lot more than before, at least). The only caveat: each bulb costs between $60-$70 each, so why would you want one? Well, you won't have to replace it for the next 10 - 15 years....
Lastly, researchers in Michigan are working on floors made out of cow manure. What? Well, farms produce waste to the tune of 1.5 or 2 trillion pounds per year, and large livestock operations are now building anaerobic digesters to treat it, with byproducts of methane gas, "liquid fertilizer" and "semisolid plant residue." By mixing the residue with other fibers and resin, and then applying heat and pressure, a new kind of fiberboard is born. "It appears that the fibers interlock with each other better than wood," said Charles Gould at Michigan State's College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. "We end up with, I think, a superior material." Would you walk around in bare feet on it?
TreeHugger's EcoModo column appears every Tuesday on Gizmodo.