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Imitating Nature : Biomimicry and Applications

written by: Raunekk•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 2/15/2010

Learn how bionics is used by Biopower systems, a company that has changed the way renewable energy is harnessed from the environment. Know about the various bionic systems made by the company and also the advantages of using such system.

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    Company using Biomimicry

    Biopower systems is a company involved with creating biomimicry utilizing sytems for generating renewable energy from marine environment. In this article we will learn about two such systems, Biowave and Biobase. We will also discuss the various advantages and special features attached with such systems.

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    Biowave system replicates the swaying motion of the sea plants that results due to waves.Power is generated due to hydrodynamic interaction of the specifically designed blades with the oscillating flow field, which leads to absorption of maximum energy over the full water breadth. The structure is made in such a way that the devices can self- orient in the direction of the wave. Due to this reason, the device is able to absorb all the possible energy from the waves, irrespective of its direction. In case of rough weather, the system automatically ceases to operate and lie flat on the ocean bed.

    The main aim of the system is not to produce energy by resisting the motion or forces of waves but to work in concordance with the movements of the ocean. This enables the system to be less complicated in structure and significantly lighter in weight. A simple construction also means a cost effective and less maintenance structure.Biowave also utilizes O-Drive Generators that we discussed in the previous article.

    biowave web2 

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    Biopower systems has brought a revolutionary change in the way renewable energy is being generated. Let’s take a look at the main advantages this system demonstrates:

    • Once the system is installed, it works as an independent, autonomous unit.

    • The structure is so simple that it doesn’t require insurance and also restricts the overhead costs

    • Low maintenance due to its simple mechanism and ability to lie flat on sea bed in case on heavy weather which prevents damages due to load tolerances

    • It is also environment friendly, creating minimum seabed disturbances due to its smooth motion.

    • As it moves in the same direction of the waves it produces slow natural movement without creating any noise.

    • The system doesn’t disturb the natural flow of the currents, neither does it creates variation in salinity and turbidity.

    • It doesn’t emit any kind of pollutants or foreign particles in the sea water

    • Carries a direct drive power conversion for continuous flow of energy

    • Covers a large swept area

    • Smoothly aligns itself with the direction of wave propagation

    • Simple in construction and hydro dynamically optimized.

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    Biobase is not a power generating system, but utilizes the same concept of bionics.Biobase is a singular mounting system that imitates the seabed holdfast mechanism of large sea plants such as giant kelp. Unlike other conventional mounting systems, Biobase doesn’t have a main shaft but have many small separate elements that share the overall load of the mounting. These elements are called “roots”. The vertical and lateral loads that are passed to the seabed are distributed equally among the roots. Thus the mechanism helps to evenly distribute the forces and alleviate excess loads. Biobase utilizes a rockbolting technology in order to fix the multiple roots to the seabed, thus it doesn’t require specialized drill ship for the same purpose.

    Once Biobase is installed, the surmounting structure can easily attaches to the system with the help of a single surface vessel. Thus Biobass is an effective tool for securing offshore wind turbines and deepwater foundations.


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    The usage of bionics as a specialised engineering stream in order to generate new technologies that work in harmony with the nature, makes a strong and valid statement that working against the methodology of nature in order to create usable technologies for human welfare leads to harmful effects on both nature and human beings. Instead, taking inspiration from natural ecosystems to create engineering designs has not only lead to the creation of a more efficient sources for human benefit but also proved to be more eco-friendly and reliable.

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