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Created with Fabric.js 1.4.5 What is biomimicry? conscious emulation of natures genius way of seeking sustainable solutions lifes blueprints chemical recipes ecosystem strategies Biomimicry is design inspired by nature. With 7 billion humans on Earth today and demand for natural resources growing, while supplies remain fixed people are looking for innovative ideas to help companies, consumers, and the environment. Scientists are realizing that many ideas for a more sustainable world can come from nature itself. The San Diego Zoo is an international center for biomimicry research. Example The microscopic structure of a lotus leaf allows water droplets to bead up and roll off, washing away even the smallest specks of dirt.Dr. Alberts said paint manufacturers had used their understanding of the microscopic structure of the lotus to create an innovative, environmentally-friendly. and energy-saving paint called Lotusan.Buildings painted with Lotusan actually clean themselves every time it rains, which eliminates the need for harsh chemicals or detergent. 1. 2. Termite mounds are self-cooling. Theyre actually able to maintain the temperature inside their nest to within a degree, even when the outside temperature might be fluctuating by 40 degrees or more. So by mapping the structure of the tunnels inside termite mounds, architects have been able to design highrise buildings that have no air-conditioning whatsoever, but theyre able to stay cool using only 10% of the energy of a conventional building of the same size.Termite mounds, which are self-cooling, inspired highrise buildings with no air-conditioning.Dr. Alberts added that because the San Diego Zoo has tens of thousands of plants and animals at its fingertips, its in a unique position to help experts for example, chemists, engineers, and architects on biomimicry projects. These projects will make for a more sustainable world, she said.Our core mission is to benefit wildlife and were really most interested in the types of bio-inspired designs that have a positive outcome for the environment less pollution, that kind of stuff.proportionally. 3. The sea is a rich source of ideas for biomimics. SharkletTM was an innovation initially developed as a non-toxic anti-fouling system for ships. Dr Anthony Brennan, identified sharks as the only marine animal not subject to any form of fouling and close inspection of shark skins revealed that the dermal denticles on the skin are arranged in a distinct diamond pattern that inhibits the growth of microorganisms. Replicating these patterns on the surfaces of boats led to impressive results with settlement of green algae reduced by 85%.Further work done on Sharklet technology revealed that the patterns would also limit the growth of bacteria. The company is now printing the pattern onto adhesive backed skins that are applied to high touch areas in hospitals and other facilities where inhibiting bacterial growth is important. Theyre also looking at imprinting the pattern directly on medical devices such as catheters. SharkletTM allows the inhibition of bacterial growth without having to dose at-risk areas with ever greater amounts of biocides.. Industrial Air Pollution Problem To an air pollution control engineer, volatility means work: methods must be found to control these chemicals in the interest of keeping the air clean. The pollutants known as "volatile organic carbons (VOCs)" have long posed a challenge for air pollution engineers. They tend to escape at every possible point, and how can you capture and treat molecules that have such a strong tendency to fly away?The best methods that exist today rely upon energy intensive processes, primarily thermal oxidation and adsorption. Thermal oxidation is fancy engineering language for burning the VOCs. The equipment can be made more efficient with heat recovery and catalytic options, but the underlying energy costs remain high.Adsorption refers to the use of materials like activated carbon -- the same stuff in your Britta water filter -- that attract and hold the volatile organics. But manufacture of activated carbon itself requires several steps in high temperature furnaces. Activated carbon recycling helps minimize the lifecycle energy costs, but even reactivation requires another pass through the furnace to burn off the organics that are adsorbed on the carbon surfaces.Other options, like bio-reactors, have limited applications; these can be used only when the air pollutants don't overwhelm and kill the organisms that are trying to eat them.proportionally. Low Energy, Natural Air TreatmentJohnson has been working in deepest secrecy to turn nature's secret into a viable air pollution control technology. Now Johnson and his investment partner, INFUSER, have announced that their tests prove the technology works. The tests solved real-world air pollution problems at the Danish company Jysk Miljoerens, where oils are separated from ship bilge waters.The newly patented process, referred to as an "atmospheric photochemical accelerator," sits in five aluminum boxes near the source of air pollution. The process has no filters that require expensive maintenance and consumes little energy.Environmental agencies have increasingly clamped down on emissions of volatile organic carbons. Many VOCs do not have acute health effects, but they have long been of concern as precursors to smog. The high costs and technical infeasibility of air pollution controls allow regulators to tolerate more emissions than they otherwise might, as the costs of economic harm or climate effects from currently available pollution controls must be weighed against the costs of treatment. But as our understanding of the long term health effects of VOCs in our air improves, the pressure to ensure factories clean the air of any and all pollutants increases.The atmospheric photochemical accelerator offers a promising solution to this age-old industrial problem.
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