Inhabitat’s Week in Green: Skyscraper competition, a solar death ray and HIV-killing bee venom
Each week our friends at Inhabitat recap the week’s most interesting green developments and clean tech news for us — it’s the Week in Green.
March marks the start of spring, and this week we saw lots of fresh new unveils in the world of green architecture — including the futuristic winners of the 2013 eVolo Skyscraper Competition. This year’s winner was the Polar Umbrella, a buoyant skyscraper designed to rebuild the shrinking polar ice sheets affected by global warming. Some of our other favorites are these jellyfish-shaped PH Conditioner Skyscrapers, which combat air pollution while producing fresh water, and Project Nomad, an out-of-this-world mobile skyscraper that could terraform Mars to make it habitable by humans. Meanwhile architect Michael Charters designed “Big Wood,” a prototype for a large-scale wooden skyscraper in downtown Chicago.
In green technology, we’ve been buzzing with the news that nanoparticles loaded with bee venom could kill HIV without harming nearby cells. In another bee-related development, scientists have created flying robo-bees that could pollinate flowers if the decline of honeybees continues. MakerBot, one of the biggest names in 3D printing, unveiled a prototype of its Digitizer desktop 3D scanner at this year’s SXSW conference. In other 3D printing news, DUS Architects announced plans to build the world’s first 3D-printed house, Sinterhab unveiled plans for a 3D-printed space station that could be made from lunar soil, and we looked at the future of 3D-printed clothes.
This week was another big one for energy news, as researchers discovered a new solar wind energy source that has the potential to revolutionize the nuclear energy industry. An exciting new study published by scientists at Stanford University shows that New York could get all of its energy from wind, hydro and solar power by 2050. California-based solar company BioSolar has developed a new line of solar panels that is made with cotton and castor beans. In a development that could have serious environmental consequences, Japan announced that it successfully figured out a way to tap the ocean floor for methane hydrate — also known as “flammable ice.” And just for fun, we brought you a 2,000-degree Fahrenheit solar death ray made from an old TV screen that is capable of melting pennies.
In green transportation news, Volkswagen unveiled its first-ever production electric vehicle, the e-up! The commuter car will debut this fall at the Frankfurt Motor Show, and sales will start in early 2014. In a surprise move, Henrik Fisker, founder of electric carmaker Fisker, announced that he will be resigning because of “several major disagreements” with executive management on business strategy. As we gear up for the 2013 World Solar Challenge, the University of Michigan announced that its sun-powered racer would have four wheels and an upright seat. And KLM Royal Dutch Airlines announced plans to start weekly flights from JFK Airport to Schiphol using biofuels.