Our Art-Driven Innovation database includes projects from the following sub-fields of this theme (click them for more information):

Bioluminescence is the natural ability of an organism to produce light. It is produced by a chemical reaction within the organism. Bioluminescence needs a molecule named luciferin and oxygen. When they react together, light is produced. There are different types of luciferin. Some organisms form a molecule of luciferin and oxygen called a photoprotein that is waiting to be triggered. Bioluminescence is found in some insects, fungi, bacteria and marine animals. Researchers are currently trying to transfer bioluminescence and apply it in biology and medicine and in light production

Researchers are trying to transfer bioluminescence to different organisms like bacteria, plants, or mammals.

The technologies which aim at capturing ambient energy sources include “mechanical devices designed to extract energy from vibrations and deformations; thermal devices aimed at pulling energy from temperature variations; radiant energy devices that capture energy from light, radio waves and other forms of radiation; and electrochemical devices that tap biochemical reactions”.

Nonetheless, “the energy captured is adequate for most wireless applications, remote sensing, body implants, RFID, wearables and other applications at the lower segments of the power spectrum.

Efficient energy harvesting techniques promise a variety of systems requiring minimum or no maintenance and powered by readily available matter in our immediate environment. This promises: virtually unlimited functioning for wireless sensor networks used in pollution, weather, fire, corrosion, structural and health monitoring; prolonged life for smartphone batteries; self-powered medical implants; battery-free wearables; colour-changing smart clothes; install-and-forget home automation or IoT devices – and many other similar small but common gadgets whose combined power consumption is actually very large.

Bacteria are everywhere, in air, soil, plants, algae, animals and in-house dust, but also in the municipal, manufacturing and agricultural waste. Thus, the waste can be converted by MFCs into clean energy. Because of the low efficiency and the high costs of the component materials, microbial fuel cell technology is currently still in the development stage.

The big advantage of MFC over other fuel cell technologies is that it could reduce environmental damage by simultaneously treating waste and producing clean energy. The technology “still faces practical barriers, the low power and current density, due to the high internal resistance, the turbulence in each compartment, the membrane resistance in the proton transportation process and the low efficiency of the cathode reaction”. Massive research efforts are necessary to make the MFCs more efficient, stable and cheaper before it is widely adopted.

Water splitting refers to a chemical reaction in which water is separated into hydrogen and oxygen. This conversion process is potentially important for clean energy: it can open the way to widespread use of hydrogen, which is both a zero-emission fuel and can be efficiently stored on a large scale. Currently, there are many diverse methods of achieving water splitting. However, they are highly complex, rather inefficient, and/or very expensive to implement.

Widespread, cheap water splitting technology could significantly change the way we look at energy production and consumption. It may wholly change the dynamics of renewable energy. Being able to easily produce hydrogen using an effective, cost-efficient process based on water and electricity from solar panels or wind turbines would significantly reduce humankind’s carbon footprint. Furthermore, as hydrogen would be stored on a substantial scale, water splitting would solve the present problem of excess renewable energy, significantly increasing the efficiency of the technologies already in place.

Explanation texts per field are taken from and inspired on:
European Commission,100 Radical Innovation Breakthroughs for the future(2019) ISBN 978-92-79-99139-4