2020 | Netherlands | Elise Hornstra, Nikki van Haasteren

Biomimicry: Nature’s blueprint

Water issue adressed: Too dirty
The recreation of natural filtration processes in plastic bottles.

Biomimicry is an art that uses patterns and processes that are found in nature to solve human problems. Biomimicry can be used to clean water. Our drinking water must be clean and safe to minimize the health risk of water consumption. This uncontaminated water is provided through filtration. During this research, the problem-driven approach is used. This approach starts with the essence of a problem and follows various research steps to find a solution. The steps that are followed for this paper: problem definition, reframing the problem, biological solution search, defining the biological solution, principle of extraction, and principle of application. The filtration processes that were put in practice were filtration through sedimentation, soil and plants. These processes showed the most potential from the biological processes that were researched. To create the setup of the experiment, 5 plastic 1L bottles where used. The 5 bottles where cut open and filled with a different material: soil and leaves, plants, Sedimentation, tap water, or ditch water. The bottles mimic the different natural filtration processes. The filtered water was then tested on various components.
Following the steps of the biomimicry problem-driven approach, the conclusion was that the design for a water filtration system that is broadly applicable and provides safe drinking water, that is at least 90% drinkable, to secure the health of society needs to be based on the filtration processes in the kidneys, soil and plants.

Project video

This is how I came up with the idea for this project:

Both of us found the plastic problem an interesting topic. Astrid van Tongeren introduced us to biomimicry. We realized that the plastic problem could be solved by high quality water filtration and after years of nature's evolution, we can use nature as in inspiration to filter water by imitating life.


Ania Andersch

Programme manager ania.andersch@siwi.org +46 8 121 360 59