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.
This week, Team Inhabitat traveled to Mountain View, Calif., to get a look at the 100 percent sun-powered Solar Impulse airplane before it embarks on its first flight across the United States. Inhabitat editors also braved the crowds at the 2013 New York International Auto Show to report on the hottest new hybrids and electric cars. Some of the green cars unveiled at this year's show were the compact Mercedes-Benz 2014 B-Class Electric Drive and BMW's sexy new Active Tourer plug-in hybrid. The Tesla Model S was named the 2013 World Green Car of the Year, beating out the Renault Zoe and the Volvo V60. And speaking of new auto unveils, Epic EV unveiled its new all-electric TORQ Roadster, which looks like a roofless Batmobile and can go from 0-60 MPH in just four seconds.
In green design news, a 19-year-old unveiled plans for an amazing Ocean Cleanup Array that could remove 7.25 million tons of plastic waste from the world's oceans using an anchored network of floating booms and processing platforms. A Mexico City hospital features an innovative screen that can actually eat smog, purifying the air around it. Paris-based Sitbon Architectes designed Bloom, a futuristic floating phytoplankton farm that could absorb CO2 and monitor rising sea levels. And the folks behind FarmedHere recently opened up the country's largest vertical farm in a 90,000-square-foot post-industrial building, providing fresh organic veggies to the Chicago area.
It was also a big week for clean energy as Israeli start-up Phinergy developed a recyclable aluminum-air battery that could power electric vehicles for thousands of miles. Meanwhile US researchers unveiled a new recyclable organic solar cell that is made from trees. Scientists at the University of Georgia announced that they discovered a new microbe that can turn carbon emissions in the atmosphere into biofuel, and a team of MIT scientists created a more efficient solar cell using quantum dots that are embedded in a forest of nanowires.
On the green technology front, flying drones are on the rise -- but not for defense. California-based startup Matternet, Inc. has created a battery-powered quadcopter drone that could be used to deliver supplies and disaster relief to remote areas. A team from China's Zhejiang University created Graphene Aerogel, which weighs just 16 milligrams per cubic centimeter and is now officially the world's lightest material. New York's New Museum hijacked local pay phones to turn them into time machines that let you listen in on conversations from 20 years ago. Finally, in wearable technology news, Google announced that its Glass headsets will be made and assembled in the USA, University of Texas researchers devised an invisibility cloak that can hide 3D objects from microwaves and Chaotic Moon created a "Helmet of Justice" bike helmet that can record video evidence in case of a hit-and-run incident.