WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF
- Every year armies around the world use millions of rounds of ammunition during training exercises but these can cause a trail of environmental devastation which takes generations to recover from, the US Army want to create a new legacy
Not only are bullets a physical hazard, but they’re an environmental hazard, too. At US Army training facilities around the world, hundreds of thousands of spent shells litter proving grounds. Because there is no efficient way to clean up the shells, they’re left where they fall.
But that’s a problem. The shells, which contain metal and other chemicals, can rust and pollute soils and groundwater , and now the US DoD wants to do something about it so they’re soliciting proposals for biodegradable bullets “loaded with specialized seeds to grow environmentally beneficial plants that eliminate ammunition debris and contaminants.”
The materials best suited for these bullets could include the same biodegradable plastics used to make water bottles or plastic containers, or it could end up being some different material altogether.
According to the request for proposal, the US Army Corps of Engineers’ Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory has already developed and tested seeds that can be embedded into a biodegradable composite. They’ve been bioengineered to germinate only after they’ve been in the ground for several months.
The proposals are being solicited until February 8, after which time, the chosen contractors will produce the biodegradable bullets as part of a three phase process. In Phase 1, the contractor will focus on making 40 mm to 120 mm training rounds, Phase 2 includes developing a prototype and the means to manufacture it and Phase 3 has the biodegradable round being deployed and used at the Army training facilities.
Matthew Griffin Global Futurist, Tech Evangelist, X Prize Mentor ● Int'l Keynote Speaker ● Disruption, Futures and Innovation expert
Matthew Griffin, Futurist and Founder of the 311 Institute, a global futures think tank, is described as “The Adviser behind the Advisers.” Recognised in 2013, 2015 and 2016 as one of Europe’s foremost futurists, innovation and strategy experts Matthew mentors several XPrize teams, and is an award winning author, entrepreneur and international speaker who is regularly featured on the BBC, Discovery, Kurzweil, Newsweek, TechCrunch and VentureBeat. Working hand in hand with accelerators, investors, governments, multi-nationals and regulators around the world Matthew shines a light on the future and helps them transform their industries, organisations, products and services by demonstrating how the combination of democratised, and increasingly powerful emerging technologies, are helping fuel cultural, industrial and societal change that is transforming old industries and creating new ones. Matthew’s clients include Accenture, Bain & Co, Bank of America, Booz Allen Hamilton, Boston Consulting Group, Dell EMC, Deloitte, Deutsche Bank, E&Y, Fidelity, Goldman Sachs, Huawei, JP Morgan Chase, KPMG, McKinsey & Co, PWC, Qualcomm, SAP, Schroeder’s, Sequoia Capital, UBS, the UK’s HM Treasury, the USAF and many others.