Eben Bayer and Gavin McIntyre were fascinated by mushrooms growing on wood chips, and observing how the fungal mycelium strongly bonded the wood chips together. This inspired them to think of new ways of using mycelium as a resin. In a class at Rensselaer, called Inventor’s Studio, they formulated a new process for binding together insulating particles, creating some remarkable materials that could replace Styrofoam™. Rather than just decreasing the environmental impact of conventional polystyrene foams, this invention created a whole new paradigm where composite materials are literally grown, harnessing the incredible efficiency of nature.
We don’t manufacture these materials, we grow them. We grow them from agricultural byproducts and mycelium, a fungal network of threadlike cells. It’s like the “roots” of mushrooms. In 5 – 7 days, in the dark, with no watering, and no petrochemical inputs, the mycelium digests the agricultural byproducts, binding them into a beautiful structural material. The mycelium acts like a natural, self assembling glue.Sustainability
By using mycelium and agricultural by-products, we utilize materials that are environmentally low-impact, 100 percent biodegradable and renewable, and are part of a healthy ecosystem. Unlike other bio-plastics, our technology isn’t based on turning food or fuel crops into materials; we’re only using inedible crop waste to grow our products. The final biodegradable materials we produce have a variety of end-of-life options, including home composting. From the materials we choose to the way it is produced, we ensure our materials are part of a truly sustainable future.