Green tech finds: the Quirky edition, 8/25/11

Next week, the new series Quirky debuts on the Sundance Channel. We’ve featured lots of quirky ideas in the weekly green tech finds posts over the past two years, so in anticipation of the show I thought I’d go back to some of our most innovative (or, at least, most unusual) finds. And if you’ve just got to have the latest, we’ve got a few new ones, too.

The chocolate-powered race car: In our inaugural green tech finds post, we discovered a prototype Formula 3 race car designed to run on biofuels made from chocolate waste.

Poop-powered batteries: We’re discovering that human, and other animals’ waste may be too valuable to just flush away. A new development on this front: a microbial fuel cell that captures the energy produced when the right bacteria consume organic waste. (via Inhabitat)

Bombing deserts – with seeds: A militaristic solution to deforestation and desertification? That’s the idea behind the seed bomb concept, which would literally use bomber aircraft to disperse plant seeds. We found this back in May of ’09, also.

Fake trees; Real carbon capture: Trees do a marvelous job of capturing carbon, but they’ve got to, you know, grow. Professor Klaus Lackner of Columbia University proposed an alternative: artificial trees that he claims can capture more carbon then the real thing. From June of ’09.

Power your iPod – by walking: Harvesting kinetic energy (energy created by movement) is still a bit quirky, but it’s getting closer to commercial reality. “Reverse Electrowetting” could be the process that allows you to charge your phone (or even just run without a battery) simply by taking a walk. (via Cleantechnica)

A Hummer with real horsepower: In February of 2010, we discovered artist Jeremy Dean, who figured out a way to completely eliminate a Hummer’s gas-guzzling ways: break them down, and turn them into horse-drawn carts.

Blowfly eyes as a model for solar cells: Biomimicry creates all sorts of quirky ideas, including imagining a new model for solar cells after looking at the eyes of blowflies. We discovered this one in July of 2010.

The carbon monoxide detector that you wear: Earlier this year we stumbled across Nien Lam and Sue Ngo’s Warning Signs t-shirt concept. The design on the shirt (a pair of lungs) literally changes when the wearer is in the presence of higher-than-normal levels of carbon monoxide. Watch it work.

Plastics from chicken feathers: Why use food crops for bioplastics when something like chicken feathers (which, to my knowledge, no one eats) may do the job. We found this one back in May.

So, what did you find this week – quirky or not? It was a lot of fun to look back, but we’d love to have you give us the scoop on more recent green tech news.


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Image credit: Captured from Sue Ngo’s other Warning Signs video on Vimeo.