Biomimicry – the pillar of sustainability

The recognition of bio-inspired solutions is increasingly taking a predominance in the field of sustainability. In a recent report by the European Environment Agency (EEA), the European Union is clearly committed to boosting the bioeconomy within the circular economy; in this context, it gives a wide margin to the incorporation of conceptual, technical and methodological contributions based on the observation of nature.

According to the guidelines specified in the dossier “Circular Economy and Biomimicry – Patners in Sustainabiliity”, the bioeconomy is called to be the engine that drives the circular economy in Europe. The document favors, in this sense, the exploration of possible synergies, distances and balances between the bioeconomy and the circular economy.

There are also other indicators on the relevance of biomimetics. One of the most recent is the report of the Council of Ministers of the Nordic Countries, which has produced a document on the current state of biomimicry in their territories, which are formed by Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway and Iceland. The study, which began in 2013 and was completed in 2018, also produces a broad portrait of the incidence of biomimicry in other countries of the continent, such as Germany, the United Kingdom, Suïza or France.

Both studies have points of coincidence that invite a clear optimism, in the sense that the increasingly accelerated advances in technology are put at the service of sustainability and the environment, a fact that can decisively influence to help stop, in some measure, the pernicious effects of climate change.

 

The remarkable success of bio-inspired solutions, since 2000, continues to inspire research and development to the point that in the last decade the number of papers reviewed reaches 3,000 per year. According to the da Vinci Index, a database that tracks academic activity, interest in biomimicry has multiplied tenfold since the turn of the millennium.

A reflection of this trend is the number of patents derived from biomimetic innovations: in 2012 there were 67, an abyss compared to the 3 that were patented in 2000. This index, developed by The Fermanian Business & Economic Institute, provides a vision of the activity in the field of bioinspiration in four major areas: number of academic articles, number of patents, number of grants and their value. Under these parameters, the Institute estimates that the value of biomimetic innovation in that country can be around 425 billion dollars in 2030. Almost nothing.

Xavier Company

Biomimetic Sciences Institute

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