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Fungal Mycelium Biocomposites for Absorbent Floral Foam Materials

Award Information
Agency: Department of Agriculture
Branch: N/A
Contract: 2014-00444
Agency Tracking Number: 2014-00444
Amount: $99,999.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 8.8
Solicitation Number: N/A
Timeline
Solicitation Year: 2014
Award Year: 2014
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): N/A
Award End Date (Contract End Date): N/A
Small Business Information
70 COHOES AVE
Troy, NY 12183-1518
United States
DUNS: 806335977
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Greg Tudryn
 Senior Scientist
 (518) 273-3753
 gregtudryn@ecovativedesign.com
Business Contact
 Gavin McIntyre
Title: Chief Scientist
Phone: (518) 273-3753
Email: gavin@ecovativedesign.com
Research Institution
 Stub
Abstract

Ecovative & #39;s vision is to grow sustainable products that directly replace the toxic plastics that poison our planet. The use and handling of phenol-formaldehyde foams and resins in the floricultural industry have documented environmental health and safety concerns. Although the physical performance of phenol formaldehyde foams is adequate for floricultural arrangements, there are significant legislative drivers for safer commercial materials to mitigate the emission of volatile organic compounds. Ecovative & #39;s adaptive technology uses regional agricultural byproducts to develop better approaches which focus on climate change through the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (VOC, phenols, formaldehyde, and alkane agents) by uniting agricultural material supply with customer facing horticultural products.Current Ecovative materials offer analogous physical characteristics in comparison to plastic foams, however floral foams require the additional feature of hygroscopy, enabling them to attract and hold water molecules from the surrounding environment.Further progress in meeting material metrics is presented in this proposal for development and large scale manufacture of the fungal post-growth treatment for water absorption, optimization of substrates to enhance floral stem penetrability, and physical support. Successful implementation of the proposed work plan offers a path towards the displacement of traditional floral foams.Achieving the technical objectives in this proposal will improve performance ofEcovative & #39;s absorbent biocomposite, comparable to traditional foams, including: fracture, density, porosity, water retention, and microbial resistance. The proposed research offersan alternative, renewable product that displaces unsustainable traditional foams, but does so at a comparable cost and with a reduced environmental footprint. The Phase I includesEcovative materials grown in-house and tested according to the collaborating industry leader, soliciting product feedback from the collaborating industry leader, and complying with ASTM standards and methods to reach the mechanical and biological requirements and market expectations.Completion of this project plan provides technical feasibility and validation towards four critical milestones required to penetrate the Floral Foam material market: (1) meeting the mechanical (water uptake, strength: weight, stem hold capability) and cost metrics under the Phase I work plan; (2) reaching floral life and antimicrobial metrics set by customer expectations; (3) scaling the functionalization process economically under a Phase II work plan; and (4) demonstrating feasibility in a potential customer & #39;s application (a current manufacturer, and a nationwide floral arrangement distributor). Realization of these milestones provides the foundation for the implementation of a Phase II effort. Ecovative anticipates using Phase I data to develop a Phase II scale-up procedure for collaboration with a floral foam manufacturer & #39;s network of OH and NY florists, and a current nationwide floral arrangement distributor to begin pilot production of Ecovative floral foams. These partnerships will establish a route to deliver the aforementioned environmental, health, and economic benefits throughout the U.S. floral market.This adaptation of Ecovative & #39;s low-energy biotechnology gives American agriculture a value-add product from domestic waste streams, it reduces their dependence on foreign oil, and provides the industry with a biotechnology product for export, continuing to deliver positive trade balance in the US economy. The lignocellulosic waste from American agriculture is used as the main constituent in this floral foam product, enabling agricultural producers and natural resource managers the opportunity to produce a biotechnological product within their own communities as per Ecovative & #39;s commercialization principles.

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

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