Testing the Viability of Agricultural Byproducts as a Replacement for Mineral Particles In a Novel, Low embodied Energy, Construction Material
Small Business Information
Ecovative Design LLC
1223 Peoples Ave., Troy, NY, 12180
AbstractGreensulateTM is an affordable, biodegradable replacement for polystyrene/polyurethane foam building products, poised to replace petrol-foams in the rigid board insulation market. This patent pending technology uses the vegetative growth stage of a benign fungus (mycelium: P.ostreatus, I.obliquus, F.formentarius A.arvensis) to bond loose particles into a cohesive whole. The fungus operates as a self assembling resin, thus the composite has a low embodied energy requiring no light, heat or petroleum inputs during the growth process, emitting no hazardous byproducts or water contaminates. Minerals (vermiculite, perlite) are currently implemented as the bulking particle within the insulating composite, which have yielded a comparable thermal conductivity to standard foams while exhibiting superior fire retardancy and safety (no related VOC/allergens). ASTM compliance testing for the mineral composite¿s structural and water sorption properties is being conducted under a New York State grant, which will additionally produce full scale prototypes and potential manufacturing techniques for commercial production. The economic and environmental costs associated with the production and transport of the aforementioned minerals are significant enough to seek agricultural analogs. Agricultural byproducts such as rice hulls, cottonseed hulls, soybean hulls, have negligible commercial value and have the potential to serve as a direct replacement for the minerals. The key objective in implementing these agricultural byproducts is to reduce material expenses, maintain or improve the thermal characteristics and increase composite biodegradability. Greensulate is a multifunctional (insulation and firewall) construction material that could potentially retail for half of cost of petrol-foams, reducing a customers initial capital building expense. The agricultural based composite would create further economic incentives since the composite would be highly applicable for the US Green Building Council¿s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design accreditation. Ecovative Design LLC is comprised of an experienced team of engineers and scientists focused on replacing petrol-foam products, such as insulation, with the GreensulateTM technology. The National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Worcester Polytechnic Institutes Fire Protection Engineering facilities have offered their additional expertise and equipment for testing the materials¿ thermal properties and combustibility. A potential commercialization partner has taken particular interest in the insulating composite in its nascent stage, as such pending positive results this corporation will further pursue the technology and collaborate on manufacturing. The Greensulate composite is applicable in a range of diverse industries beyond construction, including; packaging materials, horticultural/agricultural products, and internalized rigid cores.
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