Posts Tagged ‘biomimicry’

Photosynthetic Machines

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008

In twenty years, according to Department of Energy Secretary nominee Steven Chu, artificial leaf-like membranes mimicking plant photosynthesis will be converting sunlight into liquid fuels. Right now, the transportation sector is almost entirely dependent on gasoline, diesel, and other petroleum-based fuels. In 2003 it accounted for about 27 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

Buildings That Behave Like Plants

Wednesday, July 9th, 2008

Check out Habitat 2020, a nature-inspired building that makes today’s LEED Platinum structures look about as cutting edge as Stonehenge. “The exterior has been designed as a living skin, rather than a system of inert materials” used only for protection, reports Inhabitat. In fact, the building’s walls look a lot like the surface of a leaf seen under a microscope, with countless stomata, the openings that regulate plant transpiration and exchange of gases with the atmosphere. Like a leaf, the architectural skin automatically positions itself to let in sunlight — no artificial lighting would be needed during the day — funnel air into the building for natural cooling, and harvest rain water. It can even absorb moisture from the air. The concept is being developed for housing in China. 

Lilypad City

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

Something about the lilypad apparently appeals deeply to biomimics. Maybe the way they float through life with a kind of desultory beauty. Kind of like bobbing around a tropical lagoon with a mojito and a floppy hat.

A few weeks ago the eco-design community was wowed by the Solar Lilypad. Now comes Vincent Callebaut’s Lilypad. Designed to look like a water-lily, it’s a completely self-sufficient, zero-emission floating city intended to provide shelter for future climate change refugees in low-lying areas around the world. Each Lilypad, with varied topography including three ridges and a central lake, could support about 50,000 people afloat in the ocean. 

Solar Kelp Beds

Friday, May 16th, 2008

Another fabulous technology that mimics the behavior of plants to produce electricity, the bioWAVE looks like a huge mechanical kelp bed implanted on the ocean floor. Each bioWave generator consists of three buoyant blades resembling giant kelp bladders that harness the energy of ocean currents as they sway back and forth like real sea plants. 

Solar Lily Pads

Tuesday, May 13th, 2008

Water-lilies do it, so why shouldn’t we? In a beautiful example of biomimicry, Scottish architects have designed a series of lily pad-like photovoltaic cells that can float in Glasgow’s River Clyde like a string of giant Victoria amazonica leaves, soaking up solar energy and sending electricity to the city’s grid.