The combination of processes, principles and materials found in nature applied systematically to engineering is a new trend in manufacturing
The next industrial revolution will come from nature
“The future of sustainable value creation systems” was the theme of a workshop on the Biological Transformation of the European manufacturing industry, hosted by the European Technology Platform ManuFUTURE and Fraunhofer in Brussels. Some 40 experts from industry, the European Commission and research institutions discussed how materials, structures and processes of living nature could be used in manufacturing for a more sustainable future. In parallel the Commission published the first draft of the “Strategic Plan” for Horizon Europe which references bio-inspired and bio-integrated manufacturing as well as “enhanced information-based technologies inspired by nature and biology”.
Industry makes a significant contribution to the European economy and provides 36 million jobs to Europeans but industrial products are also the third biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions and have a negative footprint on depletion of resources , pollution or biodiversity loss. Today it is clear that disruptive and sustainable technologies are needed if we want to comply with the Paris Agreement and at the same time keep and create jobs in Europe. “There is no time to lose, we need to act now”, said Professor Thomas Bauernhansl, director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA at the ManuFUTURE workshop in Brussels, “new bio-intelligent manufacturing concepts will help to address the challenges we face.” Bio-based innovation will play a major role in the transition of various industries to circular economy models. “Using biological waste or renewable resources to manufacture chemical, pharmaceutical, packaging or various consumer products is just the beginning towards a climate-neutral and circular economy where bio economy already today plays an important role”, explained Dr. Markus Wolperdinger, Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB.