Collaborators with Ford Create Biodegradable Car Parts Out of Mushrooms
Have you ever been driving your vehicle and thought “man, they should make a car out of mushrooms.” Well, now they have.
That’s right. A group in New York has created a fungus-based foam that they say could be the future of foam fillers. Ecovative Design, based in Green Island N.Y., created the fireproof, waterproof material out of the root systems of mushrooms. The roots, called mycelium, are basically nature’s bonding agent. Developers at Ecovative Design combine biodegradable agricultural byproducts like corn husks with the mycelium in molds. After five days of sitting in a dark room, the shapes are cooked and dried, creating a durable material that will decompose completely after one month of being buried in soil.
This invention is a huge development in the field of biodegradable materials. Supporters are ecstatic about fungus-foam because it has a good chance of successfully replacing its non-biodegradable predecessors. It could easily give polystyrene and Styrofoam, which have plagued landfills for years, a run for their money.
Of course there are concerns about the reliability of the material. My main concern is the fact that it’s a material being knit by a living organism. As far as its structural use in buildings and vehicles, I would want to make sure the material would be consistent throughout its makeup. Since the growth patterns of living fungus can’t be controlled, it leaves open the opportunity for weak spots to develop in the material, meaning big trouble if used in a car bumper or a surfboard.
However I still think this is something to keep our eyes on. I think it could have thousands of practical uses, even if its composition proves to be less than uniform. If you’re buying stock, you may want to look into Ecovative Design.