After an initial period in which ideas went in all directions, proponents of seaweed (macro-algae) in the bio-economy have now set down to the painstaking work of developing and fine-tuning their technologies. Single-product facilities, like for the production of biogas or proteins, have effectively been abandoned. It is now generally recognized in the sector that
It is difficult to find out why exactly Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace, the two leading organizations in this field, oppose genetic engineering. Clearly it is important to them that a large number of people oppose this technology, and that they represent the vox populi in this. But this cannot be the true reason.
Whereas the two companies discussed in this series so far use fermentation technology to imitate silk, the American company Kraig Biocraft Laboratories uses the old workhorse, the silkworm. They introduced spider genes into the silkworm in order to arrive at products much like spider silk, stronger than common silk. They claim their genetically engineered spider
Spider silk combines properties that are very difficult to achieve for man-made materials. It is claimed to be 340 times stronger than steel; we are also told that a net woven from spider silk threads 1 cm thick would be able to stop a Boeing 747 in full flight. And yet, spider silk is just
In four earlier articles we came to the conclusion that geopolitics of fossil, mineral and agricultural resources will become less important. But a new geopolitical dimension quickly rises to the forefront: geopolitics of information. Information becomes less reliable. People create their own worlds with social media, which leaves less and less space for generally shared
For a long time, silk has figured as a proverbial example of nature’s skills: strong and breathable, and soft to the skin as no man-made material could achieve. But we are about to cross this border: artificial silk has been synthesized, or at least materials very close to it; it may come to the market
One of today’s economic bestsellers is Doughnut Economics, written by the British economist Kate Raworth. Her book is an outright attack on the dominant neoliberal economic theory. Permanent growth is impossible! In growing permanently, we will transgress social and ecological boundaries! I saw her on TV and right away asked myself how her project could
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