In what sounds like the most over-engineered toilet tech ever, Stanford engineers are using rocket science to clean up sewage.
It's actually simpler than it sounds -- the scientists are developing a system that exploits sewage-loving bacteria to produce nitrous oxide, which can be used up by a rocket thruster. The nitrous-powered rocket's only byproduct is hot, pure air.
We are happy to announce the winner of our Go Green contest, thrown over on Instructables with the help from our friends at TreeHugger. The winning project details an ingenious way of further purifying the effluent water output of a sewage treatment tank (also designed by the contest winner's organization) and using it to grow plants in a hydroponic garden. Well done! Stay tuned here for more of our favorite entires, published in their step-by-step glory. Congratulations and thanks to all who entered! —John Mahoney
I havent posted a Smackdown in weeks because, well, I was silenced by self-loathing after two months of intensive, carbon-emitting air travel. The good news is, the travel spree seems to have tapered off, which means I can go easy on the self-flagellating and carbon-offset buying and focus on actions that do some concrete good.
Most people pack up the summer house come fall, but designer Michael Jantzen foresees a time when they'll pack it away instead. Jantzen's concept Hide Away house, made predominantly of fabric, folds up for storage. Yet it features all the comforts of home, including hot water, electricity, a bathroom, and heat. During the off-season, hard shells store the water-gathering devices, solar panels, sewage treatment tanks, and other off-the-grid necessities, as well as the fabric walls and ceilings. Everything fits into the back of a pickup truck.