Solving human problems with nature’s surfaces
Henry Bilinsky CEO
If you look at fast swimming sharks under a microscope, you’ll find their skin is covered with thousands of microscopic ridges – called “riblets”. These riblets reduce drag and sharks evolved them to become more efficient hunters. Aircraft and ships spend most of their fuel overcoming drag.
MicroTau has printed riblets with their proprietary DCM technology that reliably demonstrate 7% drag reduction. This has the potential to save billions of dollars in fuel and hundreds of millions of tonnes of CO2 emissions annually across aviation, maritime, and energy industries.
What makes your team unique?
We have the unique mix of nanotechnology, engineering, physics, optics and chemistry, operations, strategy, intellectual property and science communication skills to make this happen.
Founder & CEO, MicroTau
MicroTau founder Henry Bilinsky proposed the Direct Contactless Microfabrication (DCM) technology as a scalable method to print drag-reducing shark skin “riblet” microstructures for this application.
Out of 296 global applicants, a committee including NASA, the US Federal Aviation Administration, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, General Atomics and Northrop Grumman selected Henry’s proposal and MicroTau was founded.
Henry holds a BSc (Adv.) (Hons) and a JD from the University of Sydney.
What will your company most likely be doing in 5 years?
We’ll have shark skin flying on the global aviation fleet, reducing carbon emissions and fuel costs on over 200 planes and bringing even more savings to shipping while we bring on line our next line of functional material products inspired by nature.
What impact is your company hoping to make on the world?
Aviation and shipping produce almost 2 billion tonnes of CO2 every year and with trillions of dollars of fuel-burning assets, they aren’t going to transition to renewable power sources for decades to come. We want to reduce their emissions now and help make electric air and water vehicles more efficient to compete and help accelerate the world to a fossil fuel-free future.
What (and whose) problem is your company trying to solve?
Every year, the aviation and shipping industries spend US$300 billion on fuel and produce almost 2 billion tons of CO2 emissions while operating with razor thin margins. Most of this is spent overcoming drag. MicroTau produces a drag-reducing sharkskin ‘riblet’ product that can save over 200 million tonnes of carbon and US$34 billion across these two industries annually.