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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.”

 

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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.

About author

Matthew Griffin

Matthew Griffin, described as “The Adviser behind the Advisers” and a “Young Kurzweil,” is the founder and CEO of the 311 Institute, a global futures and deep futures consultancy working between the dates of 2020 to 2070, and is an award winning futurist, and author of “Codex of the Future.” Regularly featured in the global media, including AP, BBC, CNBC, Discovery, RT, and Viacom, Matthew’s ability to identify, track, and explain the impacts of hundreds of revolutionary emerging technologies on global culture, industry and society, is unparalleled. Recognised for the past six years as one of the world’s foremost futurists, innovation and strategy experts Matthew is an international speaker who helps governments, investors, multi-nationals and regulators around the world envision, build and lead an inclusive, sustainable future. A rare talent Matthew’s recent work includes mentoring Lunar XPrize teams, re-envisioning global education and training with the G20, and helping the world’s largest organisations envision and ideate the future of their products and services, industries, and countries. Matthew's clients include three Prime Ministers and several governments, including the G7, Accenture, Bain & Co, BCG, BOA, Blackrock, Bentley, Credit Suisse, Dell EMC, Dentons, Deloitte, Du Pont, E&Y, GEMS, HPE, Huawei, JPMorgan Chase, KPMG, McKinsey, PWC, Qualcomm, SAP, Samsung, Sopra Steria, UBS, and many more.

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