SBIR Phase I: Method of Disinfecting Precursor Materials using Plant Essential Oils for a new Material Technology

Award Information
National Science Foundation
Award Year:
Phase I
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
NSF 09-541
Small Business Information
Ecovative Design LLC
1223 Peoples Avenue, Troy, NY, 12180
Hubzone Owned:
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator
 Gavin McIntyre
 (518) 690-0399
Business Contact
 Gavin McIntyre
Title: BS
Phone: (518) 690-0399
Research Institution
This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project seeks to further reduce the economic and environmental costs associated with sterilization of precursor materials for the Mycobond platform. Mycobond is a revolutionary material that is grown from agricultural byproducts and a vegetative growth of a filamentous fungus (basidiomycete mycelium). To ensure adequate growth all raw materials are either sterilized or pasteurized, which represents up to 24 hours of process time and 50% of the material cost. This research intends to use an emulsion comprised of phenolic compounds from plant essential oils (PEOs) to inactivate competitive organisms on all feedstocks while reducing manufacturing costs. Preliminary trails have yielded favorable results, indicating a potential reduction of the disinfection costs by 88%. Furthermore, this procedure can significantly reduce both the capital expense associated with production and the environmental footprint by removing high entropy processes. Achieving successful disinfection with PEOs, and later inoculation with the desired mycelium, will allow the Mycobond? technology to retail at prices below those of expanded polystyrene (EPS), granting a competitive advantage that would aid in gaining rapid market adoption. The technology benchmarks well against EPS, and has interested early adopters in the protective packaging and rigid board insulation industries. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project is the development of sustainable, high-performance composite materials for the packaging and insulation industries. 10% of the petroleum imported into the United States is allocated to the production of inherently unsustainable materials. The Mycobond platform is a direct replacement for many these materials, applicable for products from protective packaging to structural cores. The use of a PEO emulsion seeks to further reduce the energy consumption of material production by closely emulating nature. The biological composites and related processes can reduce energy consumption fivefold and greenhouse gas emissions by tenfold when compared to an identical volume of EPS. Furthermore, since the raw materials used are byproducts from American industries, a new revenue stream will result, bolstering local economies. The plants and related compounds utilized in the procedure are rapidly renewable and the proposed disinfection platform is an open system which reduces dependence on a solitary feedstock. The use of PEO emulsions to disinfect materials has value beyond composites production, and will find applications in agriculture industry and commercial cultivation of mushrooms. The effective replacement of high-embodied energy processes will support local manufacturing by increasing the feasibility of low-cost, regional production.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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