Orientation around Best Practices from nature

The illustration in this year’s annual report captures the issue of efficiency in the broadest sense. Be it for movement, sensory perception or energy management in the body: the animals shown are examples of the ability of living beings to adapt to their environment and achieve their goals by using resources effectively. The term "biomimetics" includes a number of examples for how human beings have always oriented themselves around optimised structures and processes in nature when developing technology. Human beings will also need to develop intelligent solutions for the requirements of the future when it comes to energy.


The chameleon is the embodiment of flexibility and dynamism. It adapts its shape, colour and movement to its environment for camouflage. The colours also depend on factors like temperature, the intensity of the sun’s rays, the time of day or humidity. It turns lighter in colour when the temperature is high to reflect light and darker when temperatures are low. Flexibility will also play a key role in our future energy supply. In the interest of efficiency, electricity generation, storage, transport and consumption need to be synchronised with one another.


The silkworm uses its saliva to spin a well-insulated cocoon that protects it from weather conditions while the pupa undergoes metamorphosis. Silk is prized for its low density and insulating properties.

Information transmission

Ants have a highly efficient way of communicating: they exchange information throughscents. Like binary numbers, information is uniquely encoded.

Adaptable energy management

No unneeded energy goes to waste: marmots lower the energy they need during winter hibernation by slowing down their breathing and heart rate to less than ten per cent.


The skin of a shark is composed of tiny teeth of different shapes and sizes. The special surface of the skin gives the shark a highly aerodynamic shape, making it one of the fastest animals in the ocean. Consequently, the properties of shark skin have been reproduced in swimwear for professional athletes.

Water storage

Dromedaries have adapted to heir surroundings by developing he capability to store water. he animal stores water reserves n its stomach to prevent it from ehydrating in dry periods. It can ill up its storage tank again uickly by taking in liquids.

Upward force

The bumps on the front flippers of the humpback whale increase lift and reduce drag. The flipper design allows the animal to glide effortlessly through the water at high speed. These discoveries have been applied to the design of rotary blades.

Light collectors

The compound eye of the fly is composed of a vast number of individual eyes. The eye’s hemispherical shape gives flies a broad range of vision and a high light intensity. Researchers analyse the structure of the compound eye with the aim of boosting the efficiency of solar collectors.