Our pick of Biomaterial Designers to watch in 2020
Carolyn Ruff, founder of An Ocean Full of Opportunities, mixes beautiful colour explorations with biomaterials.
Proposing an alternative material for the textile industry, Ruff explores the beneficial properties of red algae. This composite can be produced in a myriad of colours by extracting phycocyanin, a natural dye produced by microalgae.
Founder of MarinaTex and winner of the James Dyson Award, Lucy Hughes is at the forefront of finding alternative solutions to single use plastics by exploring biomaterials. Her research started in the fishing industry which produces 50 million tonnes of waste every single year. Hughes went on to use this to produce a material from this bio product which would also go some way to solving a bigger problem, single use plastic.
MarinaTex is formed from fish waste and can be readily used as an alternative to plastic film as it is translucent, home compostable and stronger than LDPE. No special infrastructure is required for production or disposal of the material as it can biodegrade naturally in 4-6 weeks and is produced with very low energy.
Imperial College and RCA graduate Nicole Stjernswärd uses an ancient technique to extract pigments from waste fuit and vegetables.
'Historically colour came from plants and minerals, but with the onset of industrialisation, cheap petrochemical colours became the norm, at huge environmental cost. To avoid further ecological devastation, KAIKU uses plant waste to create natural powder pigments. Many plants & fruits we eat every day, such as avocados, onions, and oranges, have valuable colours within their skins and peels. Normally these are left to rot in landfills, but KAIKU transforms this waste into a high value resource.' - Nicole Stjernswärd
Studio Thomas Vailly explores the waste stream of sunflowers. Once the sunflowers are harvested for consumption, animal feed and bio-fuel, the stalks, husks and the flower's dark brown proteins are left behind. These agro-wastes can be valuable resources to produce novel biomaterials like iphone cases and insulation panels.