Scenario Refined  

Modifying the scenario and costing the various sections.

  Meeting with Mike Press  

Mike Press was previously involved in the Ttura project, which aimed to commercialise a new material, made by recycling blue glass.   They team behind it went through a very similar process to the bone project.  They explored both its scientific properties as well as how it was perceived by culture.


Like bone, blue glass was not being recycled.  A craft-designer started using the ground glass in conjunction with concrete, in an effort to create an aesthetic material.  However he later found that the glass would react, and degrade the concrete surrounding it.  At that point a scientific approach, driven by craft, was taken.  The goal was to create a structurally sound material, with desirable aesthetic qualities.  The result was a glass and resin composite called Ttura.

Production and Promotion
The material was intended to be cheap and accessible. Prisoners were used for manufacture (a lot of recycling work is done by prisoners).  However it became impossible to make this philosophy commercially viable. The 3 man team behind the project started creating ‘design exemplars’ to showcase the material in different ways, and influence its cultural values. Press highlighted that the material   Ttura started gaining recognition, and it was decided to move the material upmarket. Ttura was eventually used in Thomas Heatherwick’s ‘Blue Carpet Square’. (pictured). Press may a key point: the team showcased it in many different ways, and over a five year period, it naturally found its niche. The same methods could be applied to introduce bone.

Image sources:
Blue Carpet Square | Multiple Authors. (2002) Spoon. Phaidon Press, London
Ttura Resin |



  The Scenario Timeline  

This flowchart shows how bone could be utilized, across three different industries: the arts, science and engineering.. Each section is discussed in further detail below.



  0.0 Bone Refinery  

The BoneRefinery supplies bone in different forms, as it develops into a mainstream material.


0.1 Whole Bone Supply –Small Scale Boiling Operation

Initially, when demand for bone is limited, bone will be processed on a small scale, and supplied in whole form to the craft market.  The bone will be rendered using a large boiler, processing 400kg per week. Assumes 10% of processed material will be unsuitable.

Funding Body: DEFRA
Running Cost: £30,352
Processing Cost per kg: £1.47
Selling Price per kg: £2.10
Est. Annual Profit: £13,104


0.2 Whole Bone Supply –Medium Scale Dermestid Colony

As the demand for bone increases the operation will be scaled up, to process 10 tonnes a week.  The boiler of the original operation will be substituted with a large colony of dermestid insects.  Assumes 30% of processed material will be unsuitable.

Funding Body: Scottish Enterprise

The Scottish Enterprise support local business start ups.  The start ups have to aim for a £5 million valuation at the end of year 3.  They will provide up to £100,000 on a equity or loan basis.

Running Cost: £284,000 per year
Processing Cost per kg: £0.63
Selling Price per kg: £1.20
Est. Annual Profit: £179,200

0.2b Prison Workforce
Many recycling operations use low risk prison inmates for labour tasks.  If the original workforce was substituted for inmates, the costs would be as follows:

Running Cost: £191,312 per year
Processing Cost per kg: £0.44
Selling Price per kg: £1.20
Est. Annual Profit: £240,730



0.3 Whole Bone Supply – Treated Bone

Supply bone which has been treated to reduce the odour produced when cutting. Costs are dependant on the results of the BoneLAB


0.4 Ground Bone

Supplying ground bone for use within composite materials.  The original dermestid processing facility will be expanded to incorporate grinding equipment, which will render any unsuitable whole bones, into aggregate.

Funding: Internal
Additional Running Cost: £85,600
Additional Processing Cost per kg: £0.63
Selling Price per kg: £1.90 per kg
Est. Additional Annual Profit: £85,700




1.0 BoneIvory

  This scenario involves changing the way bone is perceived in order to make it valuable and desirable.  


Arts Funding

Arts funding will be used to promote the use of bone to the design community and the wider public.

Total Start-up Funding: £69,420
Annual Funding: £18,240

The funding will be divided between three bodies:

i) The Scottish Arts Council can be used to fund the development of the promotional jewellery.  However, the council will only fund non-commercial activities, which are strictly related to the arts.

ii) The British Council specialise, and fund the promotion of British art, design and architecture.  However the Council do not provide development support.

iii) DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) offer funding to schemes which will benefit the rural economy.


1.1 Changing Perceptions

Promotion: Website

Website promoting the use of bone in a craft context.  The site will showcase its aesthetic and ethical credentials.

Funding body: British Council
Start-up Cost: £5000
Running Cost: £240 per year.

Cost Breakdown
Web design and photography: £5,000
Web domain and hosting:  £240 per year


Promotion: Design Exemplars

Commissioning designer-makers to create inspiring artifacts from bone.  These objects will be used to promote the material through a series of exhibitions. 

Funding Body: Scottish Arts Council
Cost: £20,600

Cost Breakdown: 
Artisan Commissions: Around £15 per hour, 4 makers, 1 month = £9,600
University Workshop = £10,000
Material Supply = £1000


Promotion: Bone Exhibitions

Exhibitions designed to tackle the stigma associated with bone, and present it in a design context.  It is hoped the exhibitions will gain spin off exposure through media coverage.

Funded by: British Council
Cost: £33,570

Cost Breakdown

Gallery Hire: £170 per week, series of seven 3 week exhibitions:  £3,570
Set up and transport: £25,000
Supporting Material and equipment: £5,000


Promotion: PR Supply

Bone will be supplied free of charge, to select designers in order to attain further promotion.

Funded by: British Council
Cost: £1000


1.2 BoneIvory Supply

Website: Bone Supply

The website will be upgraded to allow for bone to be purchased in its whole form.

Start-up Cost:  £9,250
Running Cost: £18,000

Funding body: DEFRA – Processing and marketing grant.
Admin Staff:  £18,000 per year
Packaging Printing: £0.25 per package. Initial run 1000.  £250

DEFRA supply a processing and marketing grant, which can be used for capital investment in agricultural products.

Cost Breakdown

Website upgrade: £9,000
Admin Staff:  £18,000 per year
Packaging Printing: £0.25 per package. Initial run 1000.  £250




2.0 BoneLAB

The BoneLAB explores the chemical properties of bone, in order to develop commercial applications for the material.


2.1 Treated Bone

Treated Bone: Research

Investigating ways to treating the bone, in order to reduce or alter the odour which is generated through working it.  This was an area of concern highlighted during the Bone Jewellery Workshops.  If successful, this will enhance the experience of working with the material, increase its popularity, and generate intellectual property. 

Source: Venture Capitalists
Cost: 1 researcher (1 year): £64,000

Additional: Intellectual Protection: £30,000


Treated Bone: Supply

Developing a brand identity, and internet portal to supply the odourless bone.

Funding: Bone Refinery
Cost:  £4,800

Cost Breakdown
Package and graphic Design:  £4,500
Website update:  £300


2.2 Bone Remediation

Bone Remediation: Funding
Highlighting the ethical and economic implications of bone research, in a bid to capture government funding.

Funding body: DEFRA

DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) offer research grants for both ‘Sustainable Products & Materials’ and ‘Waste Management’.

Funding required: £128,000


Bone Remediation: Research
Research into the use of bone as a hazardous substance barrier.

Cost:  £128,000

Utilizing Geoscientists in Reading and London, which are already conducting research into the use of bone as a permeable water filter. 

Two researchers, one year:  £128,000




3.0 BoneEngineer

Bone Engineer develops production methods to utilize bone on a mass scale.

3.1 Bone: Smart Material

Smart Material: Development

Developing a permeable bone composite material, which is capable of remediating heavy metals from toxic sources.   The ‘smart material’ is to be suitable for mass applications.

Funding Body: Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council
Funding required:  £414,000
Duration: 2 years

Cost Breakdown

R&D: £384,000
Intellectual Protection: £30,000

Smart Material: Launch

Gathering investment to launch and promote the new mass material.

Cost: Dependant on development outcome.
Sources: NESTA, Venture Capitalists

Nesta fund and support UK innovations as they emerge as businesses.  They support technologies with large target markets of around £100 million.  The target for initial investment from Nesta would be £250,000.


3.2 Bone Laminate 

Bone Laminate: Development

As the popularity of bone increases, investment should be utilized to enable bone to be supplied for larger applications, in a laminated or fused form.  These could be targeted at the tiling and flooring market.

Funding Body: Bank, Venture Capitalists
Funding: £94,000

Cost Breakdown

Cost: Single researcher at £64,000 (1 year)
Patent Protection: £30,000


Bone Laminate: Supply

Supplying processed bone in flat laminated panels or tiles.

Cost: Dependant on development outcome.

Copyright Andrew Ross 2008