Mycoremediation of Waste Streams for Reuse

Mycocycle leverages fungal root structures (mycelium) to remove harmful toxins from waste, diverting it from landfills and creating a biobased and renewable byproduct that is fire and water resistant and can be manufactured into new products. By harnessing the power of nature, Mycocycle neutralizes heavy carbons entering our environment, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating risk for governments, manufacturers, and waste operators.

Critical Need for the Technology

Construction and demolition materials make up 660 million tons of US-based waste streams each year which is twice the amount of annual municipal solid waste. With global restrictions focused on this industry sector due to its high volumes, high carbon emissions and toxic nature, Mycocycle is providing an alternative solution to this material problem by using mycoremediation to reduce harmful toxins, divert waste from landfills and incineration, and create new biobased raw materials for use into new products replacing plastic polymers and other petrochemical derived raw materials. With 16% of all anthropogenic methane gas generated from the waste management industry and 11% of all carbon emissions in the building sector coming from materials management there is a critical need for innovative circularity solutions. Focused on solving the man-made issue of waste with a nature-based approach, Mycocycle is reducing carbon while delivering value through a circular economic approach.

Supplemental Need for this Technology

Another advantage Mycocycle’s process offers is the opportunity to decentralize waste management, taking its modular approach to where the waste is being generated. Offering flexibility to waste operators, building owners, contractors, manufacturers and governments a hybrid approach to waste management means lowering total cost of waste processing while optimizing the footprint of waste infrastructure, job sites and commercial operations.

Competition

  • Conventional waste management processes. Decades old practices of burning and burying waste make it easy to ignore what happens to end of life materials. The first cost of disposal seems attractive but the total operating cost, not to mention environmental cost, are on the rise.
  • Specialty recycling operations promoting circular solutions (like chemical recycling) and waste-to-energy. These remove waste from landfills but result in low-value reuse options while still producing a carbon footprint.

Potential Markets

  • Waste Management
  • Construction & Demolition Recyclers
  • Materials and Chemical Producers
  • Government

Key Innovation

The use of mycology to remediate toxins from waste and create a biobased raw material for reuse.

R & D Status of Project

Lab scale prototyping and initial pilot studies have shown the feasibility of mycological remediation of construction materials like asphalt and drywall. Collaboration with Argonne National Laboratory’s Advanced Material Division and biotechnology support from  Dr. Meltem Demirtas will support prototyping of rubber treatments to new biobased raw materials as well as optimization of treatments protocols.

Team Overview

Joanne Rodriguez, Founder and CEO, LEED AP, FITWell Ambassador:  Addressing the decarbonization of the waste management sector, Joanne started her company with the goal of improving recycling rates of the 4th largest waste stream being landfilled: construction and demolition debris and now addresses some of the highest volume waste streams generated on a daily basis. Recognized for her innovation by Forbes Magazine, FastCompany, and the EPA she is shifting the paradigm on how we view waste: as a reusable resource, not a burden. Prior to founding Mycocycle, Joanne was Director of Sustainability for a major manufacturer of building materials, headed an environmental consulting firm and continues to be recognized as a sustainability leader in the construction products industry. She is a specialist in technologies like the circular economy, biomimicry and green chemistry, and has decades of experience leading cross-divisional sales and technical teams to success.

Daniel Reyes, Mycologist, Director of Operations: BS in Hydrogeology with Honors Jackson School of Geosciences The University of Texas at Austin. Operationally, Daniel helped to establish MycoAlliance where he managed teams of researchers, educators and volunteers to strengthen the conservation, research, and study of mushrooms around the world. He has contributed to projects globally through education and technical support, and is proficient in Fungal Tissue & Spore Culture; Fungal Strain Isolation & Development; Fungal Spawn Production & Installation; Water/Soil/Plant/Fungi sample collection and processing for chemical and biological analysis; Inorganic Analytical Instrumentation (ICP- MS/OES); Field Measurements for Water Quality (pH, TDS, TSS, EC); Experimental Design; Statistical Analysis.

Technology Profile

Status: Seed
Primary industry: Circular Economy; Climate Tech
Category (i.e. tech keywords): Waste, Remediation, Biotechnology

Estimated annual revenue: n/a
Employs: 8
Social challenge: Shifting the paradigm on waste as a burden.
R&D commercial collaborator: n/a

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