Pollutec, the open doorway to emerging concepts
Even if Pollutec is known and recognised to have borne the emergence and acknowledgement of new and breakthrough technologies, the show has also been where methodological and conceptual discussions have taken place, on environmental management or eco-design, but also on industrial and territorial ecology and biomimicry, two concepts that are very much in synchrony.
Industrial ecology: from the ideas laboratory to fruition
“At the very beginning, in 2004, we have to admit, people came to us by accident” recalls Grégory Lannou*, fervent promoter of industrial and territorial ecology, and attending Pollutec for the first time as a student in a master’s course at the Technology Faculty in Troyes.
“We had a small stand with the University of Cergy. It was a sort of ideas and dissemination laboratory”. Since then, the idea has come to fruition and we also refer to it as “industrial symbiosis”, meeting with ideas on bio-inspiration as to organisation of a mutually favourable flow, as seen in nature. The industrial ecology club in the Aube department, one of the first organisations of its kind in France, came together as a structure in 2005, and the subject has returned regularly to Pollutec. In 2008, a special Enterprises and Environment award from the Ministry went to an Eiffage and Appia project for a site using industrial ecology and circular economy principles. In another example of fruition, the Orée conference and the DGCIS (department of the French Ministry of Economy) in 2012, which places industrial and territorial ecology as a cornerstone of corporate “sustainable competitiveness”. “All this provides media coverage for the subject and highlights good practices: Pollutec enables emerging subjects to find an audience”, concludes Grégory Lannou.
3.8 billion years feedback
The concept of biomimicry is beginning to take deep root in innovation jargon and especially makes a lot of sense in terms of eco-innovation. Almost by definition, it is a source of efficiency since it describes an approach which is inspired by living things, to make good use of solutions produced by nature for 3.8 billion years. This highly effective model of inspiration is in essence energy and resource saving. It is only natural that Pollutec take this concept on board. Many environmental stakeholders have already been bio-inspired, just like the phytoremediation, ecological engineering and biomonitoring solutions, and even industrial ecology, a biomimetic approach to organisations. However, this area of investigation is clearly changing gears and is a source of breakthrough innovation, used by more and more industries. Pollutec therefore intends to play its part and to increasingly promote innovation inspired by this approach.
A biomimetic claw for waste
In 2014, Neos, a process designer for sorting waste, highlights the bio-inspired nature of a new separation device for films and plastic bags on sorting lines. Called “La Griffe”, the innovation is inspired by the movement of the cat’s claw and allows to catch, in the flow of plastics, the only light films that could wrap in the sorting chains and thus capture this new feed for a separate valuation.