CHON Theory of Materials Usage for Sustainable Manufacturing

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= "by 2050 we will have to be a long way towards a circular economy that almost entirely creates products from carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen (CHON)". [1]

Description

Daniel Christian Wahl:

"The startling insight from material depletion curves and the economic, mineralogical and energetic limits of efficient mining operations is that by 2050 we will have to be a long way towards a circular economy that almost entirely creates products from carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen (CHON). These are the only abundant materials that nature recycles at relatively low energy inputs.

In order to avoid running into an innovation dead-end with the circular economy, we need to ensure this transformation is systemic enough; pays attention to scale — both spatially and temporally; and innovates circular processes that circulate the ‘right’ materials using the ‘right’ kind of renewable energy. There are a lot of pit-falls along the way to creating circular bio-materials economies that are regenerative by design. If done well, they promise pathways towards vibrant regional economies and thriving local communities in global collaboration.

The challenge of a CHON material culture is that it will have to be created using an entirely new approach to chemistry that is based on low (renewable) energy input “soup chemistry”

Regionally centered circular biomaterials economies will be part of a future where humanity’s impact on Earth is regenerative rather than destructive, where we have learned to live well within planetary boundaries, and where we have learned the central lesson of biomimicry that “Life creates conditions conducive to life” (Janine Benyus)." (https://medium.com/@designforsustainability/regionally-focussed-circular-biomaterials-economies-an-idea-whose-time-has-come-e19d3f9d674d)

Status

"The CHON theory is still under development by Ian Page and colleagues at the International Futures Forum. It addresses the fact that we will run out of pretty much all other elements in the periodic table sooner or later and are therefore best to build a material culture based on these four elements." (https://medium.com/@designforsustainability/regionally-focussed-circular-biomaterials-economies-an-idea-whose-time-has-come-e19d3f9d674d)