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  • I started life as a fashion designer,

  • working closely with textile designers and fabric suppliers.

  • But today, I can no longer see or talk to my new collaborators,

  • because they're in the soil beneath our feet,

  • on the shelves of our supermarkets

  • and in the beer I'm going to drink when I finish this talk.

  • I'm talking about microbes

  • and designing with life.

  • Fifteen years ago,

  • I completely changed both what I worked with

  • and how I worked

  • after a revelatory collaboration with a biologist.

  • Our project gave me a different perspective on life,

  • introducing a whole new world of possibility

  • around how we can design and make things.

  • I discovered a radical manufacturing proposition:

  • biofabrication.

  • Literally, fabricating with biology.

  • What does that mean?

  • Well, instead of processing plants, animals or oil

  • to make consumer materials,

  • we might grow materials directly with living organisms.

  • In what many are terming "the Fourth Industrial Revolution,"

  • we're thinking about the new factories as being living cells.

  • Bacteria, algae, fungi, yeast:

  • our latest design tools include those of biotechnology.

  • My own journey in biofabrication

  • started with a project called "Biocouture."

  • The provocation was that instead of growing a plant, like cotton,

  • in a field over several months,

  • we could use microbes to grow a similar cellulose material in a lab

  • in a few days.

  • Using a certain species of bacteria in a nutrient-rich liquid,

  • we fermented threads of cellulose

  • that self-organized into a sheet of fabric.

  • I dried the fabric I had grown

  • and cut and sewed it into a range of garments, shoes and bags.

  • In other words, in one lab we grew materials

  • and turned them into a range of products

  • in a matter of days.

  • And this is in contrast to currents methods of fabric production,

  • where a plant is grown,

  • just the cotton part is harvested,

  • processed into a yarn,

  • woven into a fabric

  • and then potentially shipped across oceans

  • before being cut and sewn into a garment.

  • All of that can take months.

  • So these prototypes indicated a field

  • offering significant resource efficiencies.

  • From reducing the water, energy and chemistry needed

  • in the production of a material,

  • through to generating zero waste,

  • we grew fabrics to finished form --

  • if you like, "biological additive manufacture."

  • Through biofabrication,

  • I had replaced many intensive man-made steps

  • with one biological step.

  • And as I engaged with this living system,

  • it transformed my design thinking.

  • Here was biology, with no intervention from me

  • other than designing initial conditions for growth,

  • efficiently producing a useful, sustainable material.

  • So now I can't help but see all materials through the lens of biofabrication.

  • In fact, there's a growing global community of innovators

  • rethinking materials with biology.

  • Multiple companies are now growing mushroom materials,

  • but not literally mushrooms --

  • using mycelium, which is the root system of fungi,

  • to bind together agricultural byproducts.

  • It's a process that's been described as "nature's glue."

  • A common way to do this is to take a 3-D mold,

  • fill it with a waste crop like corn stalks or hemp,

  • add water,

  • wait a few days for the mycelium to grow throughout,

  • remove the mold,

  • and you're left with a grown 3-D form.

  • Incredibly, we can grow all kinds of structures

  • using living organisms,

  • from foams that can replace plastics in footwear,

  • to leather-like materials without animals.

  • Furniture, flooring -- all are currently being prototyped.

  • Fungi are able to grow materials that are naturally fire retardant,

  • without any chemicals.

  • They're naturally hydrophobic,

  • meaning they won't absorb water.

  • They have higher melt temperatures than plastics.

  • Polystyrene can take thousands of years to degrade.

  • Mushroom packaging materials

  • can be naturally composted in your back garden

  • in as little as 30 days.

  • Living organisms are transforming waste

  • into cost-competitive, performance-matching materials

  • that can start to replace plastics

  • and other CO2-emitting materials.

  • And once we start growing materials with living organisms,

  • it starts to make previous methods of manufacture seem illogical.

  • Take the humble house brick.

  • The cement industry generates around eight percent

  • of global CO2 emissions.

  • That's more than all the planes and ships each year.

  • The cement process requires materials to be fired in a kiln

  • at over 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Compare this to bioMASON.

  • They use a soil microbe to transform loose aggregates,

  • like sand or crushed stone,

  • into a biofabricated, or biocement, brick.

  • Their process happens at room temperature,

  • in just a couple of days.

  • Think: hydroponics for bricks.

  • An irrigation system feeds nutrient-rich water

  • to trays of bricks

  • that have been inoculated with bacteria.

  • The bacteria produce crystals

  • that form around each grain of sand,

  • locking together all the loose particles

  • to form a solid brick.

  • We can now grow construction materials

  • in the elegant way nature does,

  • just like a coral reef.

  • And these biofabricated bricks are nearly three times stronger

  • than a concrete block.

  • And in stark contrast to traditional cement production,

  • they store more carbon than they make.

  • So if we could replace the 1.2 trillion fired bricks

  • that are made each year

  • with biofabricated bricks,

  • we could reduce CO2 emissions

  • by 800 million tons every year.

  • (Applause)

  • Beyond growing materials with living organisms,

  • we're even starting to design products

  • that encourage their growth.

  • And this comes from the realization

  • that the very thing we've been trying to marginalize -- life --

  • might actually be our greatest collaborator.

  • To that end, we've been exploring all the ways

  • that we can grow healthy microbes in our own ecosystems.

  • A great example of this is architects

  • who are imagining the skin of a building

  • to function like the bark of a tree.

  • But not as a cosmetic green layer.

  • They're designing architectural barks

  • as hosts for evolving ecologies.

  • These surface structures are designed to invite life in.

  • And if we applied the same energy we currently do suppressing forms of life

  • towards cultivating life,

  • we'd turn the negative image of the urban jungle

  • into one that literally embodies a thriving, living ecosystem.

  • By actively encouraging surface interactions with healthy microbes,

  • we could improve passive climate control,

  • stormwater management

  • and even reduce CO2 emissions

  • by lowering the energy used to heat or cool our buildings.

  • We're just beginning to realize the potential

  • of nature-based technologies.

  • I'm excited that we're starting to design and biofabricate

  • a new material world.

  • It's one that moves away from the exploitation

  • of nonrenewable resources

  • to working with the original, renewable life.

  • Instead of designing out life,

  • we're designing with it and for it.

  • Packaging, fashion, footwear, furniture, construction --

  • biofabricated products can be grown close to centers of demand,

  • with local resources, less land, energy,

  • and even harnessing industrial waste streams.

  • It used to be that the tools of biotechnology

  • were the preserve of powerful,

  • multinational chemical and biotech companies.

  • In the last century, we expected material innovation

  • to come from the likes of DuPont, Dow, BASF.

  • But this 21st-century material revolution is being led by start-ups

  • with small teams and limited capital.

  • And by the way, not all their founders have science degrees.

  • They include artists, architects and designers.

  • Over a billion dollars has already been invested

  • in start-ups biofabricating consumer products.

  • I don't think we have a choice but to biofabricate our future.

  • From the jacket you're wearing

  • to the chair you're sitting in

  • to the home you live in,

  • your designed material world shouldn't compromise your health

  • or that of our planet.

  • If materials can't be recycled

  • or naturally composted at home,

  • we should reject them.

  • I'm committed to making this future a reality

  • by shining a light on all the amazing work

  • being done today

  • and by facilitating more interactions

  • between designers, scientists, investors and brands.

  • Because we need a material revolution,

  • and we need it now.

  • Thank you.

  • (Applause)

I started life as a fashion designer,

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バイオファブリケーション」が次の産業革命になる理由|スザンヌ・リー (Why "biofabrication" is the next industrial revolution | Suzanne Lee)

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    林宜悉 に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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