Materials of the Future: Mycelium
Next-generation materials, such as mycelium, chitin, lignin, and algae have eco-friendly credentials, offer a promising alternative to traditional materials and are likely to become increasingly prevalent in a range of industries.
Incorporating these materials into design, packaging and products has a big potential of reducing the environmental impact of production and showing a commitment to sustainability.
Our research explores ways to replace traditional fabrics with fabrics grown from mycelium.
The mycelium is the vegetative part of fungi that contains a network of fine, tube-like fibres that are used to create a variety of materials.
The type of substrate used to inoculate the fungi greatly influences the properties of the final material. Some popular techniques for producing mycelium-based materials include fungal foams and leather-like materials made from the pre-colonised lignocellulosic substrate, such as sawdust.
The parameters of the growth process, such as temperature, humidity, light levels, and gas exchange, must be carefully regulated in order to produce the desired result. The growth process can range from 5-42 days, and the final product can be processed further by re-growing and applying natural resins, or coatings.
The mechanical properties of the mycelium materials can be influenced by the type of inoculum, substrate, and environmental conditions during growth, but the most important elements are the fungal strain and substrate selection.
As a part of our ongoing mycelium research, we collaborated with Traum Inc to create a visualisation of the root fibre growth. The film takes you on a journey through the fascinating world of mycelium networks brought to life by AI.
To visualise the intricate process of training these networks in the lab, Thomas leveraged Stable Diffusion to train the AI to create hundreds of versions of virtual mushrooms.
The imagery reflects how the process would take place in the laboratory environment, which requires diligent experimentation to find the right material texture and density.
The European Fashion Alliance proposes action on sustainability
The EFA laid out a plan to achieve a CO₂-neutral, environmentally sustainable, non-toxic and completely circular textile industry and to raise and sensitise the awareness of fashion producers, designers and consumers.
To this end, four pillars on which the targeted measures are to be based were defined during the meeting in Gran Canaria: sustainability, education, politics and innovation.
Christiane Arp, the chairwoman of the Fashion Council Germany says: “Fashion has to evolve in the cultural and social context to stay relevant. One of the tasks of the Fashion Councils is to promote and support a new generation of designers. The young creative people have the ability to change the fashion system sustainably and innovatively.”
Building The Circular Economy: Finance Leadership In The Sustainable Fashion Revolution
Chief Business Officer at Circ, Luke Henning, discusses how he manages the production of sustainable textiles, keeps track of sustainability data, and raises critical financing.
Henning explains that the lack of green innovation costs society a lot; the expense is simply hidden. The only way to achieve true shifts in sustainability is to make the transition as painless as possible or to force it with regulation and level the playing field, which is coming.
This summer, Circ announced over $30 million in funding from leading global apparel companies and venture capital firms, including Bill Gates-founded Breakthrough Energy Ventures. Henning emphasises the importance of looking for investments in viable technologies that match a long-term macro thesis and then finding the best team executing in that space.
Davos 2023: Why the World Economic Forum in 2023 matters more than ever
The 2023 World Economic Forum gathering brought together a record number of leaders from governments, businesses, and civil society, including Shell, Amazon, and Accenture, to discuss the priorities for the year ahead, debate possible outcomes, and come up with solutions in the spirit of openness and inquiry.
The WEF announced the inclusion of nine additional industrial clusters from Europe, Asia, and North America to its Transforming Industrial Clusters Towards Net Zero initiative. The project intends to bring together 100 industry clusters in order to attain net-zero commitments by the middle of the century.
Tracy Francis, Senior Partner and CMO of McKinsey reflects on the WEF 2023 gathering: “We estimate that to reach net-zero emissions, the world must invest $3.5 trillion more each year than it currently invests. Great companies and leaders won’t let today’s challenges deter them from making the big decisions and investments needed to accelerate the transition.”
Source: Sustainable Brands
Image: Dominik Ruhl