Water System Wins 2017 Biomimicry Challenge

(3BL Media/Justmeans) -  A system mimicking the way living systems capture, store and distribute water has won the 2017 $100,000 Ray C. Anderson Foundation Ray of Hope Prize in the Biomimicry Global Design Challenge. The international competition awards nature-inspired climate change solutions.

Called AquaWeb, the system was designed by a team called NextLoop. Its members, Jacob Russo, Anamarija Frankic, and C. Mike Lindsey, received the prize at the last Bioneers conference in San Rafael (CA).

AquaWeb has urban local food producers as its target audience. The modular water sourcing and management system can help them collect rainwater and fog, filter, store and distribute atmospheric moisture.

In accordance to the ethos of the prize, every aspect of AquaWeb was inspired by Mother Nature’s tried-and-tested solutions. Team NextLoop was inspired by cribellate orb weaver spider webs collect fog from the air, how the drought-tolerant crystalline ice plant store water, and how mycorrhizal fungi like the Jersey cow mushroom distribute water. The modular design inspiration came from the honeybee’s hexagonal nest structure.

“NexLoop is an impressive team across the board,” said John A. Lanier, executive director of the Ray C. Anderson Foundation. “They have a deep understanding of how biomimicry aids in the design process, and their plans for hyper local water capture and storage in urban settings could play a crucial role in scaling local, sustainable agriculture. We are proud to award them this year’s Ray of Hope Prize.”

Besides NextLoop, Team Windchill, which came second, received $20,000 for its electricity-free refrigeration system inspired by how animals regulate temperature. Team Evolution Solutions got $15,000 for its food waste nutrient recycling and supply system inspired by bacteria that helps hydroponic farmers grow food more efficiently and sustainably. In total, six teams spent the past year developing prototypes with guidance from biomimicry experts.

The Biomimicry Institute has already launched a new round of the Challenge. Once again, participants will be competing for the $100,000 Ray of Hope Prize.

Image credit: Biomimicry Institute