Anaerobically Fuelled, Bio-printed Cars
"For Rousseau, to go back to nature, was to restore to man the forces of a natural order, placing him outside of the shackles of civilisation. This idea made Rousseau a particularly important figure in Romanticism. This was the starting point for me thinking about what nature actually is, how it has been impacted throughout the course of human development, and how nature might be in the future.
Our daily lives are filled with the benefits of technological innovation – advanced transportation, electricity devices, or 3D printing. However, many of these are detrimental to the environment, and the situation gets worse as we rely on these products more and more. Technology is also seen as a way to deal with environmental issues, but to the extent where we are replacing nature, rather than working with it. What if we could use potential technologies, not to bypass nature, but to bring us closer to nature?
The MA Design Interactions at the RCA is about critically
assessing the impact of emerging technologies and science on society. 3D
bioprinting was the advancing technology that I chose to explore and base my
project on. Bio-printing is arguably the most disruptive
application of 3D printing in the medical world, producing human organs for
transplant or for body on a chip use. The technology involves the creation
of replacement tissues and organs that are printed layer-by-layer into a
At the same time, I was thinking of the contribution of cattle
livestock and cars to the production of greenhouse gases and climate change. The world consumes 77m+ barrels,
literally hundreds of billions of litres of oil every day – 54 per cent of
which is used in transport. Cattle are at the heart of a livestock sector that is a significant contributor to
serious environmental problems, with emissions at every scale from local to
global, including land use and feed production to manure management. Yet the
cow’s digestive system is a remarkable feat of nature – an anaerobic
powerhouse. What if this organ was replicated in a bio-print, and fashioned into a self-powering vehicle for transport? Could the cow’s digestive system be a
vehicle that strikes a balance with nature?
The idea for Digestive Car is to reflect the circularity of nature. Imagine
driving a car that you need to feed grass. In this way, taking care of the car
is more akin to taking care of a pet. Of course, Digestive Car is a speculative
project, relying on great imagination. My aim is not to offer a solution, but
to raise awareness of the interconnectedness and extent of global warming, greenhouse
gases, and climate change caused by the human activities of raising livestock
and having fossil fuel powered transport."