EcoModo - The Best of Treehugger

Illustration for article titled EcoModo - The Best of Treehugger

This week at TreeHugger: We have a look at how to make inexpensive DIY home-made solar panels using damaged solar cells bought on eBay. Apparently the Toyota iQ microcar is of museum quality: The London Royal College of Art is showing the iQ as an example of good design for urban living. Jay Leno has a chat with the creator of the Zero X 100% electric dirt bike (powered by a lithium-ion battery that can store more power than the batteries of a Prius). Finally, say hello to my little friends! Living bacteria can be used as biosensors to detect pollution.Mike Davis is an astronomer. To practice his hobby away from the light-pollution of cities, he bought some land in a remote part of Arizona. But there was a problem: No electricity.... But he's a resourceful fellow. He built some homemade solar panels using inexpensive blemished and damaged solar cells from eBay! That might be even cooler, though less romantic, than the couple who got their solar panels via their wedding registry. The Toyota iQ will be exposed at the RCA between September 19 and 23 to "provide the inspiration for the finest new design talent [...] to produce ideas and concepts that respond to the many and varied challenges of modern urban living." Read on for more photos and technical specs of the iQ. The Zero X is basically an electric motorcycle powered by non-toxic lithium-ion batteries. The amazing thing about the battery is that it can store 2 kWh vs. 1.31 kWh for the Toyota Prius hybrid's battery (which is NiMH, not li-ion), giving the Zero X a 40 miles range (20 if you really push it). Detecting pollutants is extremely important. You can't do much about what you don't know, and with limited resources, you have to target your actions to where it will do most good. A new clever way to detect pollution using living bacteria that have been modified to glow when they detect certain chemicals is very promising and could make testing for pollutants faster and cheaper (though it won't be more precise than standard chemical tests). Treehugger's EcoModo column appears every Tuesday on Gizmodo (except this week, when we put it on Wednesday).