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Growth and Production of Fungal Resin for Novel Agricultural-Wood Hybrid Particleboard.

Award Information
Agency: Department of Agriculture
Branch: N/A
Contract: 2017-33610-26969
Agency Tracking Number: 2017-00542
Amount: $99,999.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 8.1
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: 2017
Award Year: 2017
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2017-09-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2018-04-30
Small Business Information
Troy, NY 12183-1518
United States
DUNS: 806335977
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Gavin Mcintyre
 (518) 690-0399
Business Contact
 Gavin McIntyre
Title: Managing Member, Chief Scientist
Phone: (518) 273-3753
Research Institution

Engineered wood products are ubiquitous in structural and non-structural applications, and are traditionally comprised of wood particles or fibers, waxes, and resins. Engineered wood represents a $8.5B market in the United States annually, the domestic engineered wood manufacturers of particleboard and medium density fiberboard have not fully recovered from the economic decline experienced in 2008, operating below 75% capacity due to competitive imports from Southeast Asia and South America. In some instances, imported products have been found to not meet both state and federal regulations on formaldehyde emissions, which has led to growing concerns around indoor air quality and human health. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took action in 2016 to begin phasing formaldehyde out of interior applications over a period of 8 years (TSCA, RIN 2070-AJ44), which has now placed additional pressure on the nonstructural engineered wood industry.Other companies have begun to develop substitutes traditional resin technology, but have mostly fallen short of this objective. Ecovative's biomaterial technology offers a resin system, mResin™, that meets all legislative requirements as an ideal formaldehyde replacement. This system is inherently cost competitive and energy efficient, and can leverage existing manufacturing equipment used in the engineered wood industry and panel production.The Phase I activities are critical to first validate that Ecovative's biobased mResin™ system can meet the composite panel industry's performance requirements (ANSI M2) on a substrate composed of agricultural byproducts and wood furnish, and second to determine if an aerated solid state fermentation system (e.g. composting) is an economically viable method to pursue for scale. The proposed work plan seeks to mitigate the final risks associated with taking this technology to full scale operation and customer adoption. This includes translating the biological resin system from an agricultural media to a predominately wood substrate, and identification of ideal process parameters through intermediate scaled, solid state reactors (capable of 600 tons/day).The Phase I effort will identify a suite of domestic agricultural byproduct that will serve as the precursor to the mResin™ system that will further reduce procurement costs by reducing the shipping burden and mitigate price volatility through supply diversification. Pending auspicious results in the pilot scale solid state fermentation reactors, the mResin™ system is expected to be more economically efficient from a raw materials and operations perspective than current fossil fuel derived resin systems.The successful translation of the mResin™ system from an entirely agricultural substrate to a predominately wood substrate and demonstrating the translation to solid state fermentation holds the potential to reduce the cost of goods sold at many engineered wood manufacturers. Using domestic agricultural and forestry feedstocks, while enabling these domestic manufacturers to reduce their resin costs with a product that fulfills the requirements of new federal regulations will reduce the trade deficit between other international producers and the United States. Filling the capacity of America's existing engineering wood mills will put more people in rural comminutes back to work, while creating a diversity of Clean Tech jobs.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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