Utrecht is part of a new fungal architecture project. Fungus-based bricks make building materials more sustainable and self-repairing. The so-called Fungar project will receive 2.85 million euros from Horizon 2020, of which 720,000 euros will go to Utrecht University.
New building material based on fungi. That’s the idea behind the Fungar project, a collaboration between Utrecht, Denmark, the United Kingdom and Italy. "We want to make building materials with zero emissions", says Han Wösten, who will lead the Utrecht part of the project, together with Marc Baldus. "The construction industry is extremely polluting. The production of concrete and cement consumes enormous amounts of energy and raw materials. Fungi can play a major role in the production of sustainable building materials."
The professor of microbiology has already made composites by bringing fungi into a waste stream. "You then kill the fungus and you end up with a composite: a kind of woody material, but without formaldehyde or epoxy. The fungus is both glue and rope at the same time. It is not a replacement, but an improvement." In another process, the fungus completely breaks down the waste stream and creates a kind of leather.