Research Project Summary Information
Fungus Bonded Technology to make Insulated Building Construction Material - Greensulate(ST10627)
Ecovative Design LLC
Greensulate™ is an insulating composite that is grown using an organism to transform agricultural byproducts, like cotton seed hulls and buck wheat hulls, into energy-efficient insulation. The patent-pending process uses a filamentous fungi (mushroom roots) to bond seed husks into a strong rigid board. This cellular tissue is grown around the mixture of insulating particles, bonding them into a composite board. The bonded substrate is then dried and can be used as a rigid board insulator within the home or in other industrial applications. The Contractor (Ecovative Design) is a recent start-up company that began its operations within RPI’s incubator program.
Ecovative Design worked with third party laboratories to conduct tests to determine the performance of Greensulate over a wide range of insulation performance metrics. Small prototype material samples were produced. Samples were tested for structural, moisture, combustibility and thermal performance. The use of Greensulate™ in structural insulated panels was evaluated with small-scale prototypes. Ecovative scaled-up production to larger sized panels (4'x4') and demonstrated them in two different locations.
Testing of Greensulate showed that the various composites had an R-value of 2-3 per inch, making it comparable to other commercially available insulations. Greensulate’s manufacturing process has a lower environmental impact than other insulating products. Greensulate is also biodegradable at the end of its service life.
Greensulate is safe to touch and can be installed without any special safety gear. Additionally, there are no spores or allergy concerns associated with the use of this material, and Greensulate passes ASTM tests for mold growth, water sorption, and vapor transmission. Greensulate is chemical and volatile organic compound-free, while still providing a class-1 fire rating.
This research project sought to optimize the growth rate of three basidiomycete species that can serve as the composite resin, quantify the thermal performance of each material compared to the synthetic competition, and determine the composting capabilities of each material.
An optimized bio-composite that is treated with a proprietary post process was developed and meets all of the standards for physical, thermal, and moisture characteristics. A follow-on project (Contract number 16995) is underway to further develop Greensulate and complete a full Life Cycle analysis of the product.
Ecovative Design LLC
70 Cohoes Ave
Green Island, NY 12183
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
NYSERDA Contact Information
R&D - End Use App & Innovation