If in Doubt, Look to Nature

Natural processes balance competition, cooperation and coordination, on the one hand, and elimination of waste, on the other. Individuals fill the niches opened or left open by others who are less efficient.

With billions of years of evolution under her belt, it’s not surprising that Mother Nature has developed a few tricks in the resource-efficiency game. The natural world is balanced, efficient, resilient, responsive and constantly evolving, and it can provide abundant inspiration and information for a species that is yet to master this balancing act. With this in mind, our final piece of advice in a world of limited resources probably comes as no surprise: if in doubt, look to nature.

Archive for Look to Nature

Desertec takes first steps

| December 12, 2011 | 1 Comments

The Guardian: The first phase of the ambitious ‘Desertec’ project, which aims to generate enough solar and wind energy from the deserts of North Africa to meet 15% of Europe’s energy needs, is set to get underway early next year with construction of a 50MW solar farm in the deserts of Morocco. Desertec is a [...]

Filed Under: Look to Nature

Bacterial sewage treatment

| May 16, 2010 | 1 Comments

New Scientist: A newly-discovered type of bacterium that converts ammonium into nitrogen and methane could drastically reduce the amount of energy needed to process sewage. Researchers from the Delft University of Technology have developed a technique using this new bacterium that by-passes one of the most energy-intensive processes in sewage treatment. In conventional sewage treatment, [...]

Filed Under: Look to Nature

Cave computing

| May 13, 2010 | 1 Comments

Greentechmedia: One of the biggest headaches for IT companies is not software crashes or server outages – it’s heat. Computers generate an enormous amount of heat, so much so that cooling can consumer around half the power used by data centers. One Norwegian company has come up with an innovative solution that makes use of [...]

Filed Under: Look to Nature

Viral photosynthesis

| May 4, 2010 | 0 Comments

The Economist: Artificial photosynthesis is one of the Holy Grails of chemistry but the complexity of this natural energy-generating process has thwarted efforts so far to replicate it. However, researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have brought the goal one step closer by using a genetically-modified virus to help split water into hydrogen and [...]

Filed Under: Look to Nature

Cactus water purifier

| April 24, 2010 | 0 Comments

New Scientist: Water purification is a costly and energy-intensive process, but scientists are taking lessons from 19th century Mexican communities and employing cactus power to do the job. Researchers from the University of South Florida have discovered that the thick gum used by the prickly pear cactus (Opuntia ficus-indica) to store water also acts as [...]

Filed Under: Look to Nature

Arbortech

| March 8, 2010 | 0 Comments

Nature has had billions of years to perfect the art of sustainability. Australian inventor Kevin Inkster, head of Arbortech, has become something of an accidental biomimic. Look at Inkster’s products and you see something interesting about them – many seem more than a little organic. Some of his saws look like they may have once [...]

Filed Under: Look to Nature