Biomimicry Agency Consulting firm Experts Specialists Consultancy

For more than 3.6 billion years, the living world has demonstrated that it is a gigantic R&D laboratory capable of great innovations, and a major source of inspiration for industrial players. The innovation process which consists of taking nature as a model is called biomimicry. The Alcimed team is passionate about it and supports its clients in their innovations inspired by the living world.

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    The challenges related to biomimicry

    This still emerging field is developing in industry, medicine and the bioeconomy. It can be applied to Materials (multifunctionality, self-repair, etc.), Energy (renewable energies, CO2 absorption in a carbon neutrality strategy, etc.), Information Management or even, for example, Chemistry (green chemistry).

    Key challenges affect the development of biomimicry today because it requires appropriate methodological materials. Among these challenges, there are:

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      How we support you in your projects related to biomimicry

      The impact of biomimicry on industry will play a key role in the development of the world of tomorrow, where innovations and the living world are expected to evolve in synergy. The Alcimed teams, who have acquired experience and a culture from the industrial world by supporting all types of stakeholders for more than 25 years, are passionately interested in this emerging subject.

      For example:

      1. Our Chemicals-Materials team has studied the following topics:
        • Intelligent self-hardening materials inspired by sea cucumbers,
        • Intelligent adhesive materials inspired by molluscs,
        • Intelligent self-repairing materials in humid environments, inspired by squid teeth.
      2. Our Energy, Environment and Mobility team recently imagined three bio-inspired axes of innovation based on:
        • Mammalian hibernation strategies for energy storage and management of electricity consumption,
        • Self-organization and traffic management in groups of mammals, insect colonies or schools of fish for autonomous driving systems,
        • The symbioses observed in living organisms to organize energy-optimized industrial areas, such that the waste of one stakeholder becomes the raw material of another, that the residual heat of the effluents of one is used by a neighbor, that the CO2 emitted by one is captured and used by another and so on.

      This expertise in industry and life science today enables Alcimed to support its clients in the discovery and development of biomimicry, through different types of projects: technological benchmark of bio-inspired innovations in a field, identification of potential partners to develop a project around biomimicry, study of receptivity to a biomimicry technology, analysis of publications/technical patents on biomimicry, development of an innovation strategy through biomimicry, etc.

      Examples of recent projects carried out for our clients in biomimicry

      • Identification of new sources of inspiration based on biomimicry for a player in aeronautics, space and defense

        One of our clients in the field of aeronautics, space and defense, wanted to unite its R&D teams around the subject of biomimicry and generate new avenues of exploration through this field. To do this, our team followed a four-step process:

        1. We first defined key functionalities on which the biomimetic approach could have a contribution in the context of our client.
        2. We identified inspiring biomimetic case studies on these functionalities.
        3. We organized a creativity workshop to bring out ideas and avenues for reflection on biomimicry.
        4. We finally analyzed and prioritized all the ideas generated in order to select the most relevant and promising ones.

        Our project allowed our client to enrich their R&D roadmap with many new ideas!

      • Identification of new product solutions inspired by nature for a player in specialty chemicals

        The goal of our client, a leading player in specialty chemicals, was to find new product solutions that can be activated by low energies, for example by body heat, daylight or ambient humidity.

        Alcimed immersed itself in the study of new materials capable of adapting to their external environment from low intensity stimuli, and chose to orient itself towards nature, the best example of low energy systems. Among the solutions identified as inspired by nature, self-hardening materials (inspired by sea cucumber), photo-curable adhesives (inspired by certain molluscs) or self-repairing materials (inspired by squid teeth) were included for example.

        Our study made it possible to go back to the molecules and associated structures, to finally look for academic and industrial players developing these technologies.

      • Promotion of creativity workshops on biomimicry with the research and development teams of a mobility player

        Our team supported a leading mobility player wishing to reflect on and better understand the potential impact of biomimicry on its business.

        In this project, we led creativity workshops with our client’s R&D teams, with the main theme: “How can biomimicry impact our business?”. The objective of these sessions was to identify new ways to obtain desired functionalities by drawing inspiration from nature, for example for self-cleaning materials, anti-scratch solutions or improved mechanical performance.

        This exercise enabled our client to identify several new avenues of research to explore with its teams.

      • Creation of a 3D printing industry to model innovations inspired by nature

        We have supported a consortium of stakeholders in the creation of an industrial sector allowing the creation of bio-inspired structures in the fields of aeronautics, automotive, construction or energy.

        To do this, our team carried out a benchmark of existing models of the “biomimicry/3D printing” sector in several countries in order to identify the practices put in place by the stakeholders and to identify how 3D printing technologies were able to play a real accelerator role, making it possible to carry out models from nature on a prototype scale, before switching them tomorrow to an industrial scale.

      • Identification of a biomimetic material for an aerospace player to enhance its products sustainability

        Our customer, a leading aerospace manufacturer, was seeking to enhance the performance and sustainability of their aircraft components through biomimicry. They needed help to identify appropriate biomimetic materials inspired by nature to replace conventional materials in key aircraft components.

        To do this, we first conducted comprehensive research on biological organisms and systems known for their structural and functional properties. Then, our team analyzed the properties and characteristics of candidate biomimetic materials to assess their suitability for aircraft applications. In the end, we performed cost-benefit analysis to assess the economic feasibility of adopting this type of biomimetic materials compared to traditional materials.

        In the end, we elaborated recommendations to provide our client with a detailed report outlining recommended biomimetic materials and their potential applications in aircraft component design.

      • Integration of a biomimetic approach to make a construction company's design processes more sustainable

        Our customer, a leading construction company, wanted to incorporate biomimicry principles into their design processes to create more sustainable and resilient buildings.

        First, we conducted a in-depth literature analysis on biological systems and phenomena with potential applications in architecture. Then, we interviewed architects and biomimicry experts on the development of methodologies for integrating biomimicry into design processes, by applying biomimetic design principles to selected architectural projects incorporating nature-inspired solutions into building design. Finally, we summarized the key findings of our investigation and lessons learned for future design projects.

        On this basis, we recommended our customer on the best biomimicry principles to consider and key next step to conduct to assess the performance of these principles in terms of sustainability, functionality, and user experience.

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