Biomimicry
Rethinking our societies, placing sustainability at the heart of the R&D processes.


Biomimicry, an innovation and engineering process, is inspired by living organisms and adapts them to respond to scientific and environmental issues. It is involved in the development of “realistic” systems and processes on the scale of human activities.

It can, thus, define an entirely artificial creation inspired by nature, or a hybrid innovation, mixing natural and artificial elements.

In the face of the crisis situations that our societies are currently experiencing, biomimicry can be an essential tool for rethinking production and consumption patterns by placing sustainability at the heart of the research and development process.

Thus, the study and understanding of nature’s complex mechanisms can open up technological barriers that have held back the emergence of less polluting industrial alternatives for decades.

In 2018, SIMEV proposed to introduce biomimicry in its approaches and research.
After a first series of scientific conferences around the SIMEV Workshop “Membrane Engineering inspired by Nature” organised in Marrakech, SIMEV wished to develop a series of episodes aiming to raise awareness among the young scientists of its approaches and their associated issues.

BIOMIMICRY & OPPORTUNITIES

Research on biomimicry has so far focused on a small sample of plant and animal species, whereas the number of species on Earth is estimated at between 10 and 40 million.

Thus, a world of opportunities can be developed and inspired by extraordinary biological creations which can have an positive impact on a wide variety of industrial sectors (energy, agri-food, construction, chemistry, etc.).

This series dedicated to biomimicry focuses on artificial membranes and associated processes. It presents various and particularly inspiring natural phenomena that have led to outstanding achievements in recent decades.

3 VIDEO EPISODES OF SCIENCE JOURNALISM

The aim of this serie is to make young scientists aware of the problems posed by the changes in scale required to move from natural processes to industrial processes.

This is a major challenge for the engineer in charge of applications, particularly in the fields of water treatment, health and the environment, which are at the heart of the SIMEV Chair’s concerns.

Even if artificial membranes are still only “simple imitations” of biological membranes and many challenges remain to improve their performance, their deep origin is an indisputable guarantee of their total adequacy to the problems of sustainable development.

Biomimicry is a hopeful approach that may be the key to the development of a cleaner and more sustainable society and industry.

A PARTNERSHIP WITH SOCIAL SCIENCES 

In collaboration with the Paul Valéry University of Montpellier and the EMH association, Kerena Anka, a bachelor’s student at the Institute of Technosciences of the Information and Communication (ITC), has produced three short science popularisation reports in the ENSCM‘s digital studio.

Episode 1/3 : Introduction to biomimicry

What is biomimicry? What natural phenomena have led to concrete achievements? This episode will present the “lotus effect” and the property of super-hydrophobicity, architectural examples for thermal regulation and materials for construction.

Episode 2/3 : Industrial & environmental challenges

All fields of activity impact our ecosystem and generate industrial, agricultural, domestic and accidental pollution. How can biomimicry and chemistry be tools to rethink our production schemes and propose concrete and sustainable solutions? This episode will present examples for depollution, eco-design of polymers, energy, architecture, construction and transport.

Episode 3/3 : Toward bio-inspired membranes et membrane processes

What is a membrane? How to develop a bio-inspired membrane? In this episode, 3 specialists and researchers, Mihail Barboiu, Marc Héran and Gilbert Rios talk about membranes, their role, their manufacture and their applications in industry for the production of drinking water, food, health, energy or the environment.