A mushroom-based insulation material for the construction industry has won an international award for innovation.
A team of UK researchers has developed a building insulation made of mycelium – the vegetative part of a mushroom. The product offers a high level of insulation qualities, is naturally self-extinguishing, feeds off waste while it grows, and purifies the air once in place.
Mycelium insulation blocks are made by letting the fungus feed on a substrate such as sawdust and grow into a shaped mould. Filaments fuse together quickly and the growth can be stopped when the substance is dried, “creating a rigid material which can be sanded and painted.
The company Biohm says the insulation will be available for sale in the coming months and that he has been in discussions with Tata Steel, Heathrow Airport and some of the UK’s top house builders to use his materials.
Biohm explores “biomimetic” construction techniques that are “completely natural, biodegradable and vegan.
The new product won the Leadership category in the COINS Grand Challenge built-environment progress awards in San Antonio, Texas, in June.
Mushrooms or fungi are organisms with significant untapped potential. The company experimenting with different species of mycelium to create sustainable alternatives to some of the construction industry’s most damaging materials. Mycelium consumes organic and synthetic waste to grow into desired shapes and different types of waste alter its properties.
Biohm has also developed an interlocking construction system called Triagomy, based on the molecular structure of carbon, which enables walls to be easily moved and rooms added to existing buildings with little fuss.
Photo: Mycelium insulation blocks are made by letting the fungus feed on a substrate such as sawdust and grow into a shaped mould (Biohm)