Technology

How would nature solve this?

Not only has nature developed solutions to many of the problems humanity faces today, it has done it in a gentle way and without damaging its surroundings. Biomimicry is a discipline that tries to learn from, take advice from, and mimic nature. A discipline in which nature is used as a guide, a source of inspiration, to solve problems and develop new solutions.

By Torsten Bak, SVP of Deep Tech at Aquaporin

In biomimicry, we start out by asking ourselves: “how would nature solve this?”. When developing airplanes, we looked towards owls and eagles, and when Velcro was brought to life, burr needles were the source of inspiration. Other types of biomimicry ideas involve the use of natural components themselves. Good examples of such components are the use of proteins which we see in many different types of applications. Proteins, also referred to as enzymes, are used in a variety of different applications ranging from improving bread’s freshness to leveraging the efficacy of washing clothes. In both biomimicry examples, when adding enzymes, resources are saved, as the bread stays fresh longer and the washing cycle can be carried out at lower temperatures, all the way down to 15°C or below, and with fewer and less harsh chemicals. Using small amounts of these natural components in technical applications constitutes a true win-win situation for us as consumers and for nature.

Advantages of biomimicry

Ultimately, biological solutions always turn out to preserve resources when used correctly. After all, this is one of the strongest selection criteria in nature, and in the washing example above with detergent enzymes enabling washing of clothes at lower temperatures, what is happening is basically that much less energy is used in the washing cycle. Similarly, with Aquaporin’s biomimetic membrane solutions, in which we have mimicked nature’s way of treating water by embedding aquaporin proteins, we save energy when purifying drinking water in our homes, while ensuring water of the highest quality. Biological solutions have been part of our lives for centuries, if not always, and as Head of the Aquaporin R&D teams, I am proud that we have found yet another way to honor nature by embedding natural components and intelligence into our water solutions.

Published on August 21 in