We came across Mykor recently when we were looking for innovative, sustainable building materials. Mykor is a young biotechnology and advanced materials company working on developing sustainable materials for the construction industry. The company works across design, engineering and life sciences to provide innovative building materials with great sustainability credentials.
The company Founders are Valentina Dipietro and Olivia Page. Valentina has a background in fashion and textiles, a degree in fashion in Milan, Italy, her home country and a Masters in textiles at the Royal College of Art, London. She has a passion for nature and after finishing her studies started the business, Mykor, making interior products from mycelium. Olivia is from London, UK and trained as an architect. She has been Portugal-based since 2017. Some of her previous projects include working on a residential construction using ‘hempcrete’ in Porto and also developing innovative interior tiles for the French luxury conglomerate LVMH.
Mycelium is the “root” of mushrooms and functions as a natural adhesive. The mushroom strains used bind cellulosic waste material from the paper and pulp industry, grow in the span of four weeks in the right environmental conditions while involving minimum use of water and electricity.
The company started out making interior products, but after various enquiries from construction companies realised that the materials could be effectively used for construction materials.
The company’s first product is the MykoSlab, a mycelium rigid insulation. The proprietary thermal and acoustic insulation, feels and performs like foam but, unlike polystyrene, is completely renewable. The MykoSlab, utilises fungi network technologies to create a highly thermally performative and fire resistant sheet that diverts cellulosic waste by-products from the paper and pulp industry from being incinerated.
The manufacturing process consumes 90% less water than Expanded Polystyrene Insulation (“EPS”), utilises 40% less energy and emits 60% less CO2 than EPS. By switching to the Mykoslab versus mineral wool insulation, it is estimated that embodied carbon emissions could be cut by over 70%.
MykoSlab is currently being tested in certified laboratories. The material competes economically and physically with conventional insulations such as plastic foams and mineral wools at a fraction of their embodied carbon. It is additionally more fire resistant, breathable and moisture regulating.
The company has a facility in Portugal which is close to a waste site, to minimise the “road miles” of the waste cellulosic feedstock and they are planning to start production in mid-2023. And there are other products in the development pipeline – so watch this space!
Mykor are very community oriented and are keen to collaborate with other organisations working in the construction & circular space. The company has recently secured Smart Grant funding from Innovate UK for a collaboration project with Bath University, to further their work on the unique waterproofing for MykoSlab.
Mykor is starting to get the recognition it deserves – here are just a couple of examples of the recent success they have been having:
- Valentina was a regional finalist in the UN Young Champions of the Earth competition 2020.
- The company has recently (2022) been named a Deep Tech Pioneer by Hello Tomorrow. Mykor will be at the Hello Tomorrow Global Summit in March 2023. Hello Tomorrow is an event dedicated to celebrating and accelerating deep tech innovation: connecting key people bringing solutions from lab to market and strengthening the deep tech investment network.
We wish Mykor every success with the continuing development and launch of MykoSlab in 2023 and their future fundraising. We’ll certainly be keeping an eye on their progress.
You can find out more about Mykor and their latest progress on their website.
Images courtesy of Mykor