photo credit: The concept: a solar-powered fuel or chemical factory. Brendan Cruz Colón
Highlight: “Photosynthesis – turning the sun’s energy into food for plants – is the biological system that feeds the world. But despite its awesome power, the process is extremely inefficient. We can’t really blame plants for this because photosynthesis evolved for ancient earth’s conditions.”
Insight: A good technological concept is one that serves multiple purposes by doing a few tasks with one stone. In nature processes such as photosynthesis not only produce oxygen but also a range of metabolic services for plants. In this mind-set the above highlighted concept is a great one because so far the focus of artificial leaves has been solely on producing electrical energy when in fact the process could also be used for other tasks such as chemical production. Multipurpose adaptability is a trait often found in natural systems and should be a focus for biomimetic research..
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What is Biomimetics: the field of gaining inspiration from nature first to solve some of our most difficult challenges. Instead of coming up with our own solutions to a problematic, the odds are that species on the planet already offer an ultimate solution. This simple fact is also another strong case to preserve species at all cost as the intellectual heritage contained within or through the study of species is both irreplaceable and invaluable…