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Manufacturing savings via paper wasps and foam frogs

Name of Client: $17B+ U.S. Food Products Company
Industry of Client: Consumer Products, Sustainability

CHALLENGE

Manage absorption of moisture into dried goods

What We Did

Biomimicry 3.8’s team of biologists, chemists, and design strategists compiled an initial list of more than 250 strategies for managing moisture in nature. Next, the team reduced the list by identifying unifying principles and determining which strategies were most relevant to the challenge. The initial report featured 16 physical and chemical strategies based on exterior, surface, and interior moisture management solutions found among organisms such as paper wasps and lichen. The report detailed what was superior or novel about each strategy, potential applications, and a feasibility analysis. B3.8 then performed deep dive research on a single organism selected by the company.

How We Did It

Together with the client, B3.8 “unpacked” the challenge to identify the functional challenges that informed our review of biological literature, analysis, and selection of relevant biological strategies. As part of a multi-stakeholder design charrette, we identified strategies with the most potential for commercial success and conducted a deep-dive research to support further collaboration with the company’s R&D team.

Successes

The chemical engineers and food scientists at the company designed a manufacturing formula inspired by their chosen organisms from the initial list of hundreds of strategies for managing moisture in nature. The formula yielded significant energy savings in the drying process while simultaneously increasing resource savings opportunities.

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