Renewables and Biomimicry

RENEWABLE ENERGY TRAINING:

My name is Maria O'Farrell (resume here).  In the 10 years I worked for the NC Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) the training programs housed under the Center doubled its offerings and greatly expanded its geographic and professional reach, culminating in national recognition.  I led a highly successful, five year,DOE grant project as one of only eight Regional Training Providers under the Solar Instructor Training Network, recognized by President Obama.  Under my supervision the Training Program at the NC Clean Energy Center successfully trained personnel at the Norfolk Naval Base, Camp Lejeune Marine Base and Fort Bragg Army Base.  I additionally served as the liaison for both an upcoming Solar Ready Vets and solar focused Wounded Warriors training programs.  


 In addition I developed and delivered a series of  custom training programs for the renewables arm of the largest utility in the nation, Duke Energy.   I worked closely with other NCSU departments to transform our existing continuing education solar programs into for-credit courses at NCSU.  I served as the liaison to the NCSU’s Facilities Operations office to design O&M classes for NCSU personnel working on NCSU solar sites. I worked successfully to set up training programs with some of the nation’s largest solar companies including SolarCity and SunPower. 

In 2014 alone, under my supervision, the Renewable Energy Technologies Diploma Series, the Center’s eight course continuing education diploma program, received the City of Raleigh Regional Sustainability Award, the NC Sustainable Energy Association Community Leadership Award and was named Clean Energy Training Provider of the Year for the nation, by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council.


I strive to help businesses develop a solid foundation and business strategy so they can be successful.We will work with you to assess your renewable energy energy training needs or product /process innovation needs utilizing the time-tested biomimicry methodology.  Find out how I can help you and your business be regenerative  today!

​​​BIOMIMICRY CONSULTING:


I have  spent the past 15 years working in the exciting field  of biomimicry.  Forbes named biomimicry one of the  five top innovation drivers  of the future. My undergraduate degrees are in zoology and botany- the study of the natural world.  I then became intrigued with the study of biomimicry; innovation inspired by nature's 3.8 billion years of R&D.  I am currently only one of eight biologists in the world to be recognized as Certified Biomimicry Professional and have an  MS in Biomimicry from Arizona State University. 


What is Biomimicry?

 Simply put it is innovation inspired by nature.  Innovation begs the adoption of new, transformative ideas. In this case ideas that have been sculpted over billions of years by millions of designers. Natures designs are at once multifunctional, optimally energy and material efficient, inherently sustainable, and beautiful to boot. In other words, Life has found a way to optimize function, material, energy and cooperation all while being not only sustainable but regenerative.

Why Biomimicry?

As a planet and as a species we are grappling with an ever growing, dizzying array of design challenges – whether it be product design, process design or whole system design. The good news is that we are a relatively young species, a species who are inherently fast and inventive.  Biomimicry affords us the opportunity to harness the genius of our evolutionary elders to inform our design solutions that look at the most efficient, effective ways to make miracle materials, use shape to create function, use information instead of energy, reward cooperation and work cohesively like an ecosystem.

Think about the elegant fine-tuning it takes to orchestrate Spring, or to keep thousands of birds or fish or insects moving as a single entity, or how social insects act as one superorganism or how the immune system keeps us alive or whole ecosystems function all without centralized control.  They are autonomous, emergent systems that constantly evolve.  They all have embedded with them a set of “design principles” that enable these organizational structures not only to survive but to thrive even in the face of disturbance.  These design principles can be seen across all taxa on all continents, they make up “Life’s Operating Manual” and provide us with blueprint for how to contend with every design challenge we face. 

 Biomimicry is a relatively new design discipline utilizing the design intelligence of the biological world to inform every human design challenge in every corner of the earth and seeking to inform our design challenges with inherently sustainable and efficient design. Biologists are now sitting down at the design table.

Nature has been consulted to offer its design expertise from computing systems, clothing, energy, building systems, electronics, food processing, healthcare, banking systems, information processing networks and resilient organizational design to name a few.  Imagine building a solar cell like a plant leaf, a hydraulic pump like a sequoia tree, creating attachment without adhesive (gecko foot pad/gecko tape), creating color without pigment (peacock feathers/ Qualcomm computer display), generating energy without fossil fuel (whale flippers/wind turbine), creating miracle materials without chemicals (orb web spider silk, abalone shell), thermal management without HVAC systems (termite mounds / Westgate Building)all while creating conditions conducive to life.  All this and so much more are the innovations nature is whispering through our biologists to the engineers and designers of our world. 

Biomimicry as innovation tool:

Biomimicry has become an innovation tool.  Biomimicry 3.8 is the global leader in biomimicry innovation consulting where more and more of our most progressive corporations and industries and heading for design solutions.  Biomimicry 3.8 has created Ask Nature; an open source database that for the first time organizes biology by function and serves as the world’s most comprehensive catalog of nature’s solutions to human design challenges. The database serves the people that make our world; chemists, designer, architects engineers to offer them a suite of time-tested, life-friendly, well - adapted design solutions.  What is Biomimicry?

 Simply put it is innovation inspired by nature.  Innovation begs the adoption of new, transformative ideas. In this case ideas that have been sculpted over billions of years by millions of designers. Natures designs are at once multifunctional, optimally energy and material efficient, inherently sustainable, and beautiful to boot. In other words, Life has found a way to optimize function, material, energy and cooperation all while being not only sustainable but regenerative.