The construction sector is increasingly interested in circular and biobased material alternatives to achieve the necessary CO2 reduction. And given the fact that raw materials are running out and environmental problems are the order of the day, this is also necessary. Mycelium, the ‘underground network of mushrooms’ is an important part of such a biobased alternative. In the “Building On Mycelium” project, the Biobased Building professorship of CoE BBE, together with partners, investigated how mycelium biocomposites can be used for the construction sector.
The project focused on indoor constructions and furniture applications, divided into board material and foam-like materials. All results are presented in the white paper below, after which you can click through to specific fact sheets and research reports.
As mentioned earlier, mycelium is the ‘underground network of mushrooms’. It acts as a natural connector for binding biomass together into a biocomposite. This includes organic residual flows such as recovered cellulose, rapeseed stalks or other agricultural side flows that are used as a nutrient medium (substrate). In Building on Mycelium, five mushroom species and ten substrates were chosen to investigate. The focus was on a combination of locally available agricultural residual flows with fungal species that originally occur in Northwest Europe. This study resulted in a top 3 for both the board material and the foam-like material.
The best mycelium biocomposites were then further tested for mechanical and physical properties. There are different properties to take into account for each application. How flexible is it? Does it absorb water and is water vapor buffered? Is the outside water-repellent? Does it have sound dampening properties? The design properties have also been tested. For example, can you break it and connect it again without adding other materials?
Finally, the economic feasibility and environmental impact were also examined.
Building on Mycelium partners agreed that research into the development of a foamy mycelium biocomposite as an insulation material is promising. That is why the research in Building on Mycelium has been continued in the project Mythic, which is short for Mytherials for Thermal Insulation in Construction.
Authors of the Whitepaper: Ilse Rovers, Ilaria La Bianca, Shannon Peuling, Joost Vette – Centre of Expertise Biobased Economy
Wasabii Ng – Caradt, Jordi Pelkmans – University of Utrecht