UK-based biotech company, Mykor, creates a carbon-negative and entirely compostable, foam-like material that can be used by the construction industry for things like thermal and acoustic insulation.
The material is created by introducing mycelium fungus spores into waste timber, which grows over a period of two weeks at 25 degrees Celsius, and can be 3D printed to create a range of products.
Developer, Multiplex recently jumped on board, providing wood waste from their 42-storey and 56-storey tower developments in London to be repurposed.
“At the time being our product is still at the R&D stage and the partnership with Multiplex will be beneficial so that we can supply larger scale projects. We are planning to have this product commercialised at scale in the next three years,” a company spokesperson told The Fifth Estate.
During that time, the company is hoping to repurpose more than 9000 tonnes of timber waste through a pilot factory.
According to Mykor, mycelium is the “root” of mushrooms and works as a natural glue to bind the wood waste, along with natural dyes.
Each cubic metre of the product sequesters 22 kilograms of carbon dioxide and during manufacturing produces 96 per cent less carbon than XPS foam.
At the same time, the company says it is as performative as traditional foam with “great thermal insulation values and strong fire resistance”.
While the concept of growing fungus for home insulation may seem a little too “earthy” for some, the company’s marketing strategy includes a range of designer homewares made from the material.
“As more of us live in increasingly urbanised locations, we have found ourselves yearning to spend time surrounded by soil and plants, while breathing fresh air,” the company said.
“Mykor materials recreate the feeling of being in nature from within your house as they translate into homeware products and sound-absorbing and thermally insulating panels.”