Winners of the 2011 skyscraper competition. Not likely to be happening anytime soon in Stoke-on-Trent, since the government’s just pulled the plug on the detested Renew North Staffordshire housing pathfinder scheme.

Above: The Hydra, a deliciously ambitious super-conductive tower that would be made of the new material graphene, and designed to collect massive lightning strikes in blasts of up to a billion volts. Enough power to produce hydrogen fuel from plain old water. Singapore is apparently an ideal place for regular lightning strikes, with over 170 lightning-storm days per year. But don’t expect them to be building a prototype any time soon, since boffins can currently only make a few feet of graphene sheet at a time.