We discuss and comment on the role agriculture will play in the containment of the CO2 problem and address protocols for terraforming the planet Earth.
A model farm template is imagined as the central methodology. A broad range of timely science news and other topics of interest are commented on.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Mushroom Formed Mesh Foam Displaces Styrene
This item is a transcript from the lecture linked to below. They are able fill a mold which contains inoculated filling material which is typically farm waste, but could just as easily be wood chips. The contained mushrooms process the filler to produce a tight packed foam forming mesh that can then be sterilized to stabilize it.
We end up with a foam product able to compete with Styrofoam head on that is truly biodegradable. I suspect that cost can never be as low but then we obviously have to charge Styrofoam for the true cost of disposal to society. Particularly since it is clearly a huge problem to society. A simple per ton charge to apply to landfill costs will surely redress that. Since it is presently a huge percentage of content, it will be easy to determine the bill.
My point of course, is that removal of Styrofoam is desirable but not particularly practical until now. Here we have a similar product that naturally biodegrades.
Taking this a step further, we could have the production of this new product naturally distributed close to demand and use it to consume local agricultural waste. It is a natural small industry that could easily fit into the local farm community. The major obvious cost here will be storage for holding molds while the five day grow out takes place. A farm could easily have such storage available and they are in the growing business.
Filling molds on demand is well within their mandate.
Eben Bayer co-invented MycoBond, a technology that uses a filamentous fungi to transform agricultural waste products into strong composite materials. Or, as CNN put it: "In non-scientific terms, they grind up seed husks and glue the small pieces together with mushroom root." Their products include packaging and styrofoam substitute and the now-in-development Greensulate rigid insulation board for builders. Both products require less energy to create than synthetics like foam, because they're quite literally grown. Equally compelling, at the end of their useful life, they can be home-composted or even used as garden mulch.
"There are three principles that should govern better materials. Firstly, they should be able to be created almost anywhere on the planet. Secondly, they should require considerably less energy to produce than current materials. Lastly, they should be able to be disposed of by nature's wonderful open-source recycling system."