EcoModo - The Best of TreeHugger

Illustration for article titled EcoModo - The Best of TreeHugger

This week at TreeHugger: Bosch's new ultrasonic dishwasher stands to end the dishwash vs. handwash debate; not with super-efficient water use or extra-hot drying, but with ultrasonic sound waves, which will rock (like Zeppelin) the water off the clean dishes.

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We've been waiting for the day when we pop open the ol' RSS reader and and see "Free Energy: Solar PV System Given to Anyone Who Wants One", but until that day happens, we'll have to settle for "smart guys announce development of fullerene-single wall carbon nanotube complex for polymer bulk heterojunction photovoltaic cells"—cool, huh? Silicon Valley has more than its fair share of super-brains, gadgeteers and other tech-related geniuses, which is probably why Toyota's Prius is now the best-selling car in the area; 1,627 were bought and registered in May alone. Lastly, get your freak on at Bar Code, a "low energy" (as in consumption) nightclub; according to the architect, it runs on "about the same amount of energy it takes to make a cup of tea." Funky.

There is often debate about which is greener: washing dishes by hand or with a dishwasher. This discussion will probably come to a screeching halt when Bosch's new ultrasonic dishwasher goes on sale. How? Not with super-reduced water use or other conventional trickery; it'll employ ultrasonic sound waves to help dry the dishes. Bosch says that zapping the dishes could be a far more energy efficient way of drying them off, as the sound waves make surface water vibrate, causing it to break up into droplets. The waves also reduce the cohesion of the droplets so they roll off dishes more quickly. Sound alone is unlikely to dry your dishes completely but Bosch hopes that combining the technique with minimal heating or fan drying will make dishwashers far more energy efficient. Insert your own hair-metal pun here.

We're patiently waiting for the day we pop open the RSS reader or scan the NY Times front page and see a headline that says "Free Energy! Solar PV System Distributed For Free to Anyone Who Wants One!" but since that day didn't come last week, we had to settle for news of the development of "a fullerene-single wall carbon nanotube complex for polymer bulk heterojunction photovoltaic cells"— we know, it's awesome, huh? In real English, that means that these scientists from the New Jersey Institute of Technology developed a unique molecule made out of carbon nanotubes and buckyballs that can go inside organic solar cells, making them one step closer to "printable" by mimicking the cellular behavior of plants. The buckyballs fill in for chlorophyll, and the nanotubes fill in for the quantum transfer of energy. By associating the buckyball closely with the nanotube, it mimics the capture and transfer system found in the photosystems of plants.

Silicon Valley has more than it's fair share of mega-brains, super-smart guys and gals, and all-around ahead-of-the-curve thinkers, which is probably why Toyota's Prius is now the best selling car in the area. 1,627 were bought and registered in May alone. Rod Diridon, executive director of the Mineta Transportation Institute at San Jose State University, said, "The intellectual capacity within Silicon Valley is amazing. That higher level of education reflects a higher level of understanding of the terrible consequences of global warming." That, and chicks dig the hybrid, right? "Hey baby, I can hack this thing to make it all electric...."

Lastly, we dress to impress at Bar Code, the "low energy" (but totally full of funkadelic, rump-shaking fun) nightclub that just marked its one-year anniversary. According to the architects, the place is so dang efficient that it runs on "about the same amount of energy it takes to make a cup of tea." The club employs LED lights that emit very little heat, thus reducing the need for air conditioning, and has fridges that open from the top to minimize cold air escape (which sounds silly, but they really work. Seriously). We're left to wonder: What happens if someone actually orders a cup of tea?

TreeHugger's EcoModo column appears every Tuesday on Gizmodo.

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