TreeHugger has a post on some biomimicry being applied to wind turbine design - Flapping Wind Turbine Inspired by Bumble Bee Wings. VentureBeat has more.
The xBEE has a19-foot wingspan and swoops in a majestic back-and-forth pattern. Green Wavelength CEO Sabri Sansoy (an MIT grad with a master's in Aeronautics and Astronautics) says, "the prototype represents an attempt to break the mold of everyday windmill solutions that are, at best, 30 percent efficient, and seek efficiency from biological sources such as the movement of bumblebees, hummingbirds, and dragonflies." According to Jetson Green, the company "intends to produce 1-10 kW small wind turbines for home and small business uses."
Small wind turbines, the kind you can now buy for your home, are a promising technology, but as it stands, they are quite pricey relative to the amount of electricity they generate, making the ROI disappointing. We don't know enough about the xBEE to make any speculations, but it may well be a radical departure from the now-familiar turbine design that makes small wind cheaper and more efficient. Hopefully both. This helical turbine from Helix Wind is another example of taking a whole new tack.
Solve Climate also has a post on biomimicry being applied to building design - Biologists and Designers Team Up to Do It Nature’s Way.
Sustainable development is moving to a new level where buildings are integral to nature, supporting nature’s work rather than interfering with life-sustaining ecosystems. HOK, the world’s largest architecture-engineering firm, has teamed up with the Biomimicry Guild to bring about this innovative shift with the introduction of biomimicry to the build environment.
Biomimicry enables architects and engineers to design buildings and other structures that perform like nature, notes Mary Ann Lazarus, director of Sustainable Design for HOK.“A building designed with biomimicry principles might or might not look like a tree, but different aspects will function like a tree,” explains Janine Benyus, a biologist, cofounder of the Biomimicry Guild and author of Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature.
In fact, under this new order of sustainability, buildings, outdoor art and other manmade structures would function like trees, meadows, flora and fauna, capturing, cleaning and storing rainwater; converting sunlight to energy and carbon dioxide to oxygen; protecting soil from erosion; disseminating seedlings; and eliminating waste.