TreeHugger is big on Biomimicry, " the practice of developing healthier, more sustainable technologies inspired by ideas from Nature." Janine Benrus's Biomimicry Institute has acolytes all over the world, including TreeHugger's Tim McGee and Carl Hastrich of Toronto, who I met at the Green Living Show. He is holding a model of an impeller that is changing the way engineers think about fluid dynamics.
Carl, who teaches at the Ontario College of Art and Design, explains biomimicry with the example of the impeller; it started with a study of how kelp beds move about in waves and surf. Now Jay Harman's Pax Scientific is bringing "the exceptional efficiencies of natural flow to fluid-handling technology, such as fans, mixers, pumps, turbines, heat exchangers, ducts, propellers, and other applications."
It is far more efficient to move water in a spiral, there is less noise and cavitation. If conventional fans were replaced with this design, the energy savings would be "absolutely incredible."
More on Biomimicry:
Natural Sunscreen Made With... Hippo Sweat?!
Nature-Inspired Innovation: 9 Examples of Biomimicry in Action (Slideshow)
Janine Benyus on Biomimicry in Design on TH Radio (Part One)
Janine Benyus on Biomimicry in Design on TH Radio (Part Two)
Lessons in Biomimicry - Part 1 Natural Forms
Lessons in Biomimicry - Part 2 Natural Systems
Lessons in Biomimicry - Part 3 Natural Processes
All posts tagged Biomimicry