Nature-inspired solutions designed to tackle some of the world’s most pressing problems continue to gain steam as five teams of entrepreneurs from around the world vie for the top prize at the 2017 Biomimicry Global Design Challenge.
The Biomimicry Institute’s Biomimicry Global Design Challenge is the world’s only business accelerator program for bringing biomimicry solutions to reverse or mitigate climate change to market. Over 100 teams entered this year’s competition, but only five were chosen to participate in the accelerator.
In the open category, the three winning teams will receive a cash prize and an invitation to enter the 2017 Biomimicry Accelerator, which culminates in the $100,000 Ray C. Anderson Foundation Ray of Hope Prize. Their solutions include a reforestation system inspired by winged seeds, bromeliads and forest leaf litter; a device inspired by baleen whales and African violet leaves that collects fine particle matter in dense urban environments; and a circulatory system-inspired heating and cooling system.
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A team from California Polytechnic State University who designed a plant-inspired system that can be applied along freeways and main streets to capture and scrub carbon took the top spot in the student category. The second-place team from Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne created a compostable patch that generates electricity by absorbing heat, inspired by the structure of the silk moth cocoon. Third place went to a team from the National Technical University of Athens, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and the Technical University of Crete who emulated coral calcification to create a design that sequesters carbon dioxide from the sea. The three teams will each receive cash prizes.
“Accelerating the path from idea to prototype to marketplace is our goal,” said John Lanier, Executive Director of the Ray C. Anderson Foundation. “And we are excited about the potential for this new cohort to demonstrate viable and innovative solutions to our climate crisis.”
The Biomimicry Global Design Challenge invites students and professionals to look at our planet’s living systems to tackle climate-related issues such as energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions food systems, transportation, water management, coastal communities and fossil fuel usage. The goal of the challenge is to demonstrate how biomimicry can provide viable solutions to the current climate crisis and bring much-needed solutions to market quickly.
The Ray of Hope Prize honors the legacy of Interface founder Ray Anderson, who funded the Foundation upon his passing in 2011. Anderson was inspired by radical new approaches to centuries-old design and manufacturing techniques and sought them out when rethinking his billion-dollar global carpet tile company’s products and processes.
A new round of the Biomimicry Global Design Challenge will open in October 2017, providing another opportunity for teams to join and compete for the $100,000.