Is biomimicry a “megacategory” of cleantech?

I had a terrific interview last week with natural sciences expert Janine Benyus, who is the foremost authority on an emerging area of science called biomimicry. In fact, Benyus is credited with coining the term in the1990s. Basically, biomimicry is about innovation that replicates what already works well in nature, whether it has to do with shapes, biological processes, the design of ecosystems, or chemistries. Toronto-based WhalePower, which has designed a wind turbine blade that mimics the flipper of a humpback whale, is an example of a biomimicry innovator. OneSun, a secretive new solar venture co-founded by Benyus along with Paul Hawken, is another example — it intends to design solar panels that copy how plants convert sunlight into energy. My Clean Break column this week, which is based on my discussion with Benyus, looks at biomimicry and its huge potential role in cleantech innovation. The video at the top-left is from a speech Benyus gave at TED in 2009.

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