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.
Coffee is what fuels us in the morning -- but it turns out that a cup of Joe can do much more than perk up sleepy office workers; this week a truck that runs entirely on coffee set a world record for the highest speed ever attained by a java-powered vehicle. That isn't the only green car news that broke this week -- with the Geneva Motor Show fast approaching, we've been keeping an ear to the ground for the latest from Switzerland. McLaren is set to officially unveil its 903-horsepower P1 hybrid supercar at the Geneva show, and Volkswagen will show off its new XL1 plug-in hybrid, which gets a whopping 261 miles to the gallon. Volvo, meanwhile, just launched the world's first car with external airbags to help protect pedestrians from serious injuries. But if you prefer bikes over cars, then you'll want to check out Bicycled Bikes, a unique set of bikes that are manufactured in Spain from upcycled car parts.
After an asteroid passed close to Earth last week, scientists in California have proposed launching solar-powered lasers to vaporize incoming asteroids. In other green tech news, 3Doodler launched the world's first 3D-printing pen and a group of teens are working on turning mosquitos into "flying syringes" to deliver vaccines to humans. A man in Rome is set to receive the world's first bionic hand with a sense of touch, which represents a major breakthrough in the world of prosthetics. Speaking of prosthetics, a sea turtle that lost her fins to a shark attack is swimming again with a new pair of prosthetic limbs. Google announced its new "Glass Explorer" program, giving a select few an opportunity to pre-order Google Glass headsets. And for the kids, Japanese company Mokurokku has released a set of beautiful (and biodegradable) wooden Lego bricks.
In renewable energy news, the German town of Feldheim has set a new standard for energy independence by generating 100 percent of its energy from renewable sources and operating its own power grid. In China, wind energy has surpassed nuclear power to become the third largest energy source in the country. Toronto's Northland Power wants to convert an old open-pit iron ore mine in Ontario into a waterfall five times the height of Niagara Falls, which could be used to generate power. And in yet another unexpected use for coffee, we bring you the Epiphany onE Puck, a phone charger that siphons energy from your mug and uses it to power your gadgets.
In the world of green architecture, a new report shows that New York City could cut 90 percent of its carbon emissions by the year 2050 using technologies available today and without breaking the bank. Scientists have developed a self-healing protective coating for concrete that could greatly reduce the need to regularly rebuild roads. H Arquitectes and dataAE unveiled a unique new dormitory that allows Barcelona architecture students to design their own rooms. A 134-year-old British sea fort located about a mile outside of Portsmouth Harbor in Hampshire has been transformed into a one-of-a-kind luxury resort. And in Malawi, Dutch designers Luc van Hoeckel and Pim van Baarsen have transformed a scrapped ambulance into a new playground.