New Delhi (NVI): A UK-based company is creating building materials from mushrooms, orange peel, cocoa husks and other food waste, making it feasible to use waste or carbon-negative materials to make buildings, according to a World Economic Forum (WEF) report.
Biohm, a ‘biomanufacturing’ company has come up with the unique concept. The London-based company has developed an alternative to wood-based sheet materials made from waste by-products from the food or agricultural sectors, writes Victoria Masterson.
The composite material, called Orb, is 100% biodegradable and vegan and can be moulded into shapes.
The company has also developed a world-first insulation panel made from mycelium – the white, thread-like roots that grow from fungus. The natural mushroom fibres can outperform some insulation products.
“Mycelium is usually found in forests, underground, and it holds the topsoil together. It allows plants to connect to one another – it’s like nature’s Internet. And we grow that into an insulation panel that can provide superior insulation values compared to other alternatives on the market,” Biohm founder Ehab Sayed was quoted as saying in the report.
Sayed started the company after being shocked by the waste from the construction industry, writes Victoria.
By repurposing waste, and creating biodegradable products, his company contributes towards the ‘circular economy’.
The circular economy is a concept that is about moving away from a take-make-waste society – where products are made using the earth’s finite resources – and then thrown away – often producing toxins in the process. Instead, a circular economy designs out waste and pollution. Products and materials are kept in use and natural resources are able to regenerate, says the report.
Biohm is also a member of The Circulars Accelerator Cohort 2021, an initiative to help circular economy entrepreneurs scale their innovations.
The accelerator is a collaboration with UpLink, the World Economic Forum’s innovation crowdsourcing platform, and is led by professional services company Accenture in partnership with Anglo American, Ecolab, and Schneider Electric.
In 2019, more than 92 billion tonnes of materials were extracted and processed, contributing to about half of global carbon dioxide emissions, according to WEF.
“The resulting waste – including plastics, textiles, food, electronics and more – is taking its toll on the environment and human health,” the Forum adds.
A circular economy could deliver up to $4.5 trillion in economic benefits by 2030, but currently only 8.6% of the world is estimated to be circular, it said.