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Новости/Аналитика

Biocomposites from hemp and mushroom mycelium

11.12.2019

Varіanti materіalіv z mіcelії z hemp

If you use mycelium and hemp as a basis, the philosophy of production is changing . Mixing the initial components with the remnants of agricultural production, we obtain high-quality cheese suitable for the production of various kinds of biocomposite materials (plant residues essentially form a symbiosis with the original base material of the developers).

The Italian startup Mogu uses hemp mushroom mycelium as the basis for creating a variety of building and bio-composite materials . In 2020, the company will launch sound-absorbing panels and floor tiles from the material created by the company's technologists to the European market .

The Italian designer and researcher Maurizio Montalti is the discoverer of mushroom mycelium for Europe , as he believes in the building and biocomposite material of the future. Montalti has been exploring its interactions with other herbal ingredients for over twelve years. With his Mogu company, based in northern Italy , the entrepreneur enters the market next year with building panels and tiles made on the basis of mycelium with the addition of various hemp constituents.

The use of hemp mycelium as a basis for composite materials

“The use of this raw material has been the most exciting thing since the invention of plastic - with extremely diverse possibilities and configurations,” says product developer Serena Camere. If you use mycelium and hemp as a basis , the philosophy of production is changing. Mixing the initial components with the remains of agricultural production, we obtain high-quality cheese suitable for the production of various kinds of biocomposite materials (plant residues essentially form a symbiosis with the original base material of the developers).

According to company employees, materials from mycelium and hemp are great for the packaging industry , but the best business model is sound-absorbing panels and floor tiles . That is why the startup put the main efforts into the production of precisely these commodity items and by the summer of 2020, the first products of the company will be launched into industrial production.

Sound absorbing panels are decorative and functional at the same time. According to Ms. Camer, “ Panels, among other things, are resistant to abrasion and ultraviolet radiation.” At the same time, the material is fire resistant and is classified according to fire protection class B.

  

 Soundproof panels made of mycelium and hemp - decorative and functional

The second line of products - a wear-resistant floor tiles are resistant to abrasion and wear. The base material is covered with a two-millimeter layer of biopolyurethane. Over the past two years, research and experiments have been actively conducted with experts in the flooring industry , who have confirmed the exclusive characteristics of the above product .

Mogu floor tile: base material coated with a two millimeter layer of biopolyurethane 

According to Serena Kamer, “Thanks to this project, the company received EU funding , which opens up new opportunities for it. Now it will be easier for a startup to find investors and partners for the implementation of further joint projects . Among other things, the company’s specialists are striving to obtain the CE mark and many other building certificates . ” This is done in order to demonstrate to the market that safety parameters are respected and that the competitiveness of construction products from mycelium with hemp is documented, for example, in the case of linoleum production. The created product has already been tested for the presence of pathogenic substances. Documents obtained during linoleum research from hemp mycelium indicate that this flooring is anti-allergenic.

Premium Sales

Despite the fact that currently 40 to 50 square meters of tiles are produced per day, by the end of 2020, productivity will be increased to 500 square meters. So far, these figures are not comparable with the performance of large manufacturers of floor tiles , producing up to 10 thousand square meters of flooring per day . Therefore, the above floor coverings with mycelium and hemp are positioned for sales in the premium segment. The main advantage of this product group is its special appearance, durability, as well as antibacterial properties of the tile .

Ms. Kamer emphasizes that "The first step towards sustainable development is not only the resource-saving cultivation of food products , but also the production of durable goods ." She draws attention to the fact that the Italian startup "Mogu" is already in the process of searching and developing new products , as it continues to consider itself as a " biotechnological platform on which experiments are constantly conducted ." For example, recently, unique flexible materials based on hemp and mycelium have been created, which will be launched on the market as a vegan alternative to natural skin. 

 Vegan alternatives to skin based on mycelium and hemp

Commentary experts of the Association "Ukrainian industrial hemp"

Mogu, founded in 2014, with the participation of environmental engineer Federico Grati and Stefano Babbini, researches and develops industrial and commercial technologies for the production of 100 percent biodegradable materials from mycelium and hemp in accordance with the principles green circular economy. The development strategy of the company is to cautious movement in the market with solid demanded products that allow promoting the idea of ​​using mycelium with hemp in modern architecture . It should be noted that the Italian startup is already developing several joint pilot projects with large architectural bureaus on the use of products developed by them in the design of cutting-edge interiors.

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