Wednesday, April 20, 2016

BRIGIT Strikes a Blow for the Environment!..............(I Think.)

Well, here's an odd one. As you know, I often find ideas for my posts by simply entering the name "Brigit" in my search engine and seeing what pops up.

Till today I did not know, for instance, that since August 2012 a four year research and development project involving sixteen partners in the European Union has been operating under the name of BRIGIT.

But why? I mean, why the name? I have written them, and I hope I can report back to you. There is no obvious explanation on the site. It isn't an acronym, it has nothing to do with Ireland, but look at the logo. A sort of half-Celtic knot, half-pentacle thing, no? And look at what they are doing:

'New tailor-made biopolymers produced from lignocellulosic sugars waste for highly demanding fire-resistant applications'

BRIGIT aims to develop a cost-competitive and environmentally friendly continuous process to produce biopolymers (polyhydroxybutyrate, PHB, and succinate-based biopolyesters, PBS-Poly-Butylene-Succinate) from waste-derived lignocelullosic sugar feedstock liquor of wood sulphite pulping process based on “in-situ” fermentation process and new fermentation culture technology without alteration of the quality of current lignosulphonates (they have a high market demand as additive). Other non-wood plant waste, used nowadays in the pulp production, will be also considered as alternative sugar source in this project.

In comparison with previous projects to obtain biopolymers from different sources, the main innovation in BRIGIT is the use of an existing sugar-rich waste stream and the process integration with the existing industrial operation, that will permit an overall reduction in resource consumption and in greenhouse gas emissions and a dramatic reduction of operational costs due to the use of non-sterile steps, without the need of intermediate discontinuous bioreactors and avoiding waste transport.

Okay. So, like our Brigit, BRIGIT has a connection to fire, though in her case, she is resisting it, not igniting it. On the other hand, if we look back to Saint Brigit's vitae, when she was a baby flames were seen to be coming from her chamber while she herself was untouched. So maybe they are onto something here.

Taken further, BRIGIT is apparently concerned with the health of the land, as Saint Brigit and her goddess counterpart--and any self-respecting sovereign goddess would do. At least, the thrust seems to be to reduce the use of natural resources and decrease greenhouse gas emissions (besides saving investors a bucketload of cash, though I'm not sure our Brigit is too concerned about that).

Going a few steps further even still, notice that they are making polymers. It would not be too great a stretch to see the goddess Brigit's role as smith here. Where her devotees originally shaped metals, these modern day smiths shape plastics, bio-plastics, even--indeed, they are shaping molecules themselves. Which is pretty darn cool; the stuff of goddesses.

So I don't know if we have a hidden Brigidine in here, or if the woman who thought of the project named it after herself (or the man who thought of it named it after his mother) or what. But I like the parallels, and I like the logo, and for that matter, I like the project, from what I can understand of it.

I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on the matter. And if I hear back on the name, I'll post it here.