What are mycelium composites?
Mycelium basically is the root structure of fungi, which can build huge networks underground. We use this exact capability when growing our materials:
First we create a suitable substrate for the fungal mycelium to grow on.
This substrate is made of agricultural waste materials like straw for example.
We then insert a small amount of mycelium into our substrate, where it starts to grow rapidly. By doing so it acts as a natural binder „glueing“ together the single particles of the substrate while gradually digesting it. After a couple of days the whole substrate is covered by the mycelial network and thus ready to be processed further.
What do me make of it?
As a first product we are currently developing an alternative to the expanded polystyrene (EPS) shells in regular bicycle, skiing, skating or horse riding helmets together with the helmet industry’s innovation leader. So far we have built and tested a first prototype, which already showed some promising results. We are currently being supported through the Berlin Start-Up Stipend.
Early mockup (left) and prototype for our mycelium shell
Test of our prototype at the TU Berlin labs