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Inhabitat's Week in Green: Wind farms, algae power and an airplane made of hemp

Inhabitat
10.26.14
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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.

Highways are big, dark surfaces that soak in lots of sun. Wouldn't it make more sense to make them solar-powered? That's what designer Daan Roosegaarde thought, and now he's making it a reality. Roosegaarde teamed up with Heijmans Infrastructure to install solar-powered glowing lines on a highway in the Netherlands. The test was a success, and it will soon expand to other parts of the country. Also on the renewable energy front, Masdar is building a 50-megawatt wind farm for the Sultanate of Oman, making it the largest wind farm in the Gulf states region. The wind farm will provide enough clean energy to power 16,000 homes, and it will prevent 110,000 tonnes (121,254 tons) of carbon dioxide from being burned per year. And in the UK, Primrose Solar is teaming up with Solarcentury to build a 48-megawatt solar farm in Portsmouth. The companies are aiming to make it the greenest ground-mounted solar farm in the world. Think algae is just green slime? Think again: The natural resource can power everything from a light bulb to an entire city. Here's a roundup of some of the top algae-powered designs that could change the world.

A couple years ago, BMW, Daimler and scientists at the Technische Universität München announced plans to join forces to create an affordable and safe electric car. This week, the Visio.M, a tiny two-seater that weighs in at just 900 pounds, will be revealed to the public for the first time at the eCarTec trade show in Munich. In other green transportation news, last week Inhabitat was one of two teams to complete the challenge to drive 834 miles on a single tank of diesel fuel in the 2015 Audi A3 TDI, proving that it's possible to get from Albuquerque to San Diego without refilling the tank. The world's first hoverboard is finally here, at least according to a couple in California. The pair claims that they've created a working hoverboard that uses electromagnetics to float about an inch off the ground. For urban commuters, Vello Bike has designed a high-performance folding bike that requires only a simple kick to fold and roll it into place, which means you can take the bike on public transit or store it with little hassle. And in aviation news, Canadian company Hempearth is building the world's first airplane made of hemp. The company hopes the plane will be ready to fly next year.

3D printing holds a lot of promise for the design world, but it also presents some challenges for law enforcement, because it could enable people to create their own guns at home. Last week, a 28-year-old Japanese man became the first person to go to jail for 3D printing after he was found guilty of making two guns at home and sharing a video showing others how to do the same. And Inhabitat was on the scene when New York City held its first-ever getgeeked conference last week. From 3D-printing pens to tablets with their own built-in projectors, check out some of the most useful tech innovations that were on display.

Elsewhere, 3D printing is firmly established in the fields of aerospace and medical technologies, but it's just starting to emerge as a viable construction technique. At Maker Faire Rome, the World's Advanced Saving Project unveiled a new type of portable 3D printer that can be used to build homes from clay, mud and fibers. The group hopes to deploy the technology to some of the world's most impoverished areas. In other green architecture developments, design duo Micaela Colella and Maurizio Barberio have drawn up plans for a prefab wooden home with an innovative steel foundation that can be completely recycled, and French designer Philippe Starck recently teamed up with prefab manufacturer Riko to build a new wind- and solar-powered home. The two-story house produces 50 percent more energy than it consumes.

With Halloween just around the corner, many of our readers are pulling together cool costumes for themselves and their kids, but few top this awesome dad's illuminated LED stick-figure costume that makes his daughter, Zoey, look like a glowing stick-figure Minnie Mouse. If you're still at a loss for Halloween costume ideas and you want to do something gadgety, check out our awesome photos of human iPhones, Androids, robots and Minecraft characters here.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
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