EcoModo - The Best of TreeHugger


This week on TreeHugger, energy efficient Star Wars-like robots for the military, India getting 500% more of our e-crap over next 10 years, six sidewalks that work while you walk, Bloom replacing the electricity grid (?), and more!

Selling Like Hotcakes: Battery Suppliers for Mitsubishi's i-MiEV to Boost Production by 50%
It looks like Mitsubishi doesn't want to miss its chance of becoming a bigger player in the automotive market. After all, electric cars represent a kind of fresh start for the industry, and companies with a head-start in battery technology, power electronics, charging infrastructure and management software, etc, have a chance to grab market share from bigger companies that are dragging their feet (you reading this, Toyota?).In 2009, Mitsubishi announced that thanks to demand being higher-than-expected, its suppliers would build a second li-ion battery factory for the i MiEV electric car. Now they're increasing battery production again because of still higher-than-expected demand:

Six Sidewalks That Work While You Walk
Sidewalks - we use 'em everyday. Which is why there's no end to the innovative ideas for making sidewalks work for us. Using piezoelectric, (also called kinetic energy) has been mostly confined to the novelty of the dance floor. That's mainly for cost and efficiency reasons. A new spate of projects coming this year, however, both with piezo technology as well as other innovations may make it worth a look at cities that are harnessing public human energy and heat for useable power.


Cool Solar Powered Desk Lamp Suctions to Window To Charge
Here's a great idea for a desk lamp that minimizes materials and maximizes the use of renewable energy. The super simple concept design is the Saint Clair Lamp byStephane Maupin and it features solar panels installed on its base, along with suction cups, so you can just stick it to your office window to charge up during the day, and plop it on your desk for evening illumination.

An Energy-Sipping Cellular Network To Be Deployed in Africa
A cell phone base station that uses as little as 50 watts of solar generated power has been developed by VNL, a telecom company based in Haryana, India. The base stations - which can range from requiring 50 to 150 watts of power - are easy to assemble, requiring only two people to assemble and mount on a rooftop in just six hours. That makes these ideal for use in rural villages, and the units will soon be sold in Africa, where sunshine is plentiful.

Yay or Meh? Bloom Box Fuel Cell on 60 Minute (Video)
Bloom Energy is a well-funded startup that is starting to come out of stealth mode (with a big launch planned for Wednesday). Its first major media exposure was a 60 Minutes segment on Sunday (you can see the video below) that made some big claims about how this is going to "replace the grid" and produce lots of clean energy. Let's see if this passes the smell test...

Need Some Weekend Entertainment? DIY Solar Robots for Backyard Battles (Video)
A greener way to enjoy a crafty and entertaining weekend revolving around electronics is to make your own solar robots to compete in competitions, like tiny offspring of BattleBots. These cool, tiny, spinning robots are fast and easy to whip up, and you can challenge your friends to duals. Check out a video of two "BEAM Solar Symets" battling it out.


HP Opens World's First 100% Air-Cooled Data Center
Data centers are, thankfully, getting a lot of attention when it comes to making them more efficient. Considering that roughly 60% of the electricity used at a data center goes to keeping the servers cool, focusing on smart cooling tactics is essential. HP has taken this to heart and has opened the world's first wind-cooled data center, and it's the company's most efficient data center to date.

GreenMap's New iPhone App Helps You Find The Green Hotspots Nearby
We love GreenMap. It's a crowd-sourced map of all the great green stuff in cities all over the world. GreenMap allows users to chart and search green events, businesses, sights, travel and anything else green and cool. The information is plotted on a Google map so that wherever you go, you'll be able to find your way around as greenly as possible. . Launched last year, the online resource now is available as an iPhone app.


E-Waste in India To Rise 500% by 2020
Last May, Pike Research estimated that e-waste going to our landfills would plateau by 2015 and begin to decline. That's great news since landfill is the last place we want our e-waste going. However, it has to go somewhere and the mountain of used gadgets, computers, televisions and other electronics just keeps growing. So where is it likely to end up? According to a new report from the United Nations, it'll end up in developing countries. The report estimates a 500% growth over the next 10 years in computer waste in India alone. Now that is some frightening news.

Energy Efficient All-Terrain Robot Walkers to be Built for Military
We should have just assumed by the rate technology was advancing that we'd live to see the day when those robot walkers from Star Wars were actually developed for the military. After all, we've got drones flying over Afghanistan piloted by men in New Mexico with X-box controllers. So why not an all-terrain robotic mule that can carry 400 lbs, provide a power source, and aid in combat operations? Boston Dynamics was just awarded $32 million to develop exactly that. And CleanTechnica reports that it may have some green uses to boot.


TreeHugger's EcoModo column appears every Tuesday on Gizmodo.

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