The Viridian Design Movement

Viridian Note 00480: The Algae Hummer

Key concepts:
Los Angeles Auto Show, weird green concept cars, anti-carbon economy
Attention Conservation Notice:
There are tropical ibises nesting in New York. Not fifty years from now. Now.
Monster typhoon clobbers the Phillipines.
The Indian monsoon is acting up. Imagine a 21st century nuclear India with a 19th century massive Indian famine.
Australia is having its worst drought in a thousand years. It's a continent much given to climate change.
Green Revolution veterans struggling to create new crops for a global climate-crisis.,,13509-2482390,00.html
No snow in the Alps for ski season. A few years of this, and these airy enclaves of the rich will go broke. They'll be as deserted as the Ninth Ward of New Orleans.

(((Reducing today's carbon emissions isn't going to work. We've clearly got too much carbon in the sky already. The climate is destabilizing year by year at today's levels of pollutant. Sooner rather than later, we'll have to bend our attention to removing the carbon that's already up there. That's not a "non-carbon economy" or "post-carbon economy" but a carbon-removal economy, an anti-carbon economy))).

(((Likely methods for accomplishing this would be found in the same industries that put the carbon up there in the first place == lighting, heating and transport tech that fixes CO2 rather than emitting it. Instead of seeking a lighter "environmental footprint," these industries would have a deliberate environmental "handprint.")))

(((That's not impossible. Cellulosic ethanol would do that == it would pull some CO2 out of the sky and fix it as topsoil in the biofuel fields. That sounds counter-intuitive, but even GM finds it thinkable. They just proposed a Hummer that improves the environment. A car that is better when bigger. Imagine a world where you couldn’t call yourself a serious environmentalist without a huge car. You'd drive a Hummer and hope for snow.)))


GM contemplates the living, breathing Hummer

Fri Dec 1, 2006 11:05 AM GMT

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) == In the corporate imagination of General Motors, Hummer could be transformed from the SUV that environmentalists love to hate to an algae-infused, oxygen-exuding buggy that would open up like a flower.

GM's sketch for the "Hummer O2" was named the winner on Thursday of a design contest at the Los Angeles Auto Show that challenged major automakers to design a vehicle with a five-year life span that could be fully recycled.

The GM vision for the futuristic Hummer concept includes an algae-filled body shell, designed to shed oxygen, that also opens up like leaves on a stem to catch sunlight when parked.

The concept sketch, which was produced by GM's West Coast Advanced Design Studio, shows the Hummer riding on an aluminum shell and powered by a hydrogen tank and fuel cells.

"This design team said, 'We've done hybrids. We're doing fuel cells. What's the next step that actually improves the environment?'" said Frank Saucedo, director of GM's California design lab. Saucedo said the GM team had deliberately chosen the polarizing Hummer brand for its imagined environmental remake.

"People think of it as a military vehicle, as a suburban SUV, but really these types of vehicles == the SUVs and the early Jeeps == were for people who worked in the outdoors, environmentalists, naturalists and outdoorsmen," he said. "This is just us coming full circle."

GM said this week that its entire Hummer lineup would offer biofuel engines, capable of running on renewable fuels such as biodiesel, over the next three years.

The GM entry in the Los Angeles Auto Show Design Challenge won out over a number of equally ambitious vehicle sketches from other automakers. None of the sketches are even close to the full-blown concept cars that automakers roll out at the industry's major trade shows to generate buzz for their brands.

Toyota suggested an electric-powered, tandem-style vehicle with wicker seats that the occupants could opt to pedal through stop-and-go Los Angeles rush-hour traffic.

DaimlerChrysler's luxury Mercedes-Benz unit suggested a diesel-burning convertible with wood panels that could be easily replaced and recycled.

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