We know that carbon emissions, particularly carbon dioxide and methane, are a major contributor to global climate change trends, and that the challenge of mitigating and even reversing this trend is highly complex. We also know that — like so many other sustainability challenges we face — managing carbon is a challenge faced by the natural world and solved through its own adaptive strategies that have evolved over 3.8 billion years.
In short: Nature sees carbon as a building block — and we can, too.
Nature has evolved strategies to manage, and even take advantage of, the presence of carbon. The natural carbon cycle is a constant operating condition of the Earth and the natural world, including for organisms and ecosystems.
The good news? Carbon solutions are being developed by cutting-edge companies around the globe, which have created technologies and products inspired by nature’s genius. These products showcase how insights derived from natural systems and processes can help humans minimize the carbon footprint of energy and materials production, sequester carbon where emissions are present, and use carbon as a feedstock to produce innovative materials and commodities.
Here’s a rundown of just a few of the companies that have created products and technologies offering biomimetic solutions to humans’ carbon problem:
BioWave developed a renewable energy technology that harvests wave action energy with kelp motion.
VAWT Wind Farm Design created vertically oriented wind turbines arranged like schools of fish.
Swarm Logic Technology is a holistic energy demand management system that communicates like a swarm.
AirCarbon is a high-performance plastic made with carbon captured from emissions.
Carbon Mix created carbonate rocks made from captured CO2 emissions, mimicking how coral builds.
Multi-Strata Agroforestry is a forestry-management strategy that mimics the forest.
Ecological Performance Standards provides ecosystem-based performance metrics for the built environment.
Perennial Crops is an approach to modern agriculture that mimics the prairie grassland.
Zelfo is a biobased material that leverages self-organizing fibers and stores carbon at the same time.
Biomimicry 3.8’s new report, Biomimicry Solutions: Carbon, includes an in-depth look at these companies, their technologies and the organisms in nature that helped inspire the innovations. The report is free to download at Synapse.bio, the Biomimicry 3.8 blog where our staff experts share what we're excited about in biomimicry, our inspirations from nature's genius, and tips and resources for doing biomimicry.