We live in an ever more complex and interconnected world, meaning many challenges of the future will affect us all. The demand and price of many commodities such as energy, food, water and materials will continue to rise. So too does our growing consumption, which matches the global rise in population density. It is estimated that by 2050 the world’s population will reach 9.4 billion, adding further pressure on agriculture, energy and freshwater resources.
Rising levels of carbon dioxide reflect our ruthless consumption of energy. In 2014 alone we emitted 38.2 billion tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere. With the effects of climate change being felt around the world, our current way of life is no longer sustainable.
Here at Materialize.x, we have found a solution, changing the way we think about waste and reconnecting us with the natural world.
BI-ORGANIC is a new bio-composite; a material we have developed using left over plant matter from algae bio-fuel farms. Algae-based biofuels are one of the most promising biofuels of the future, growing quickly and efficiently in very little space. The process however, is still not cost effective. Extracting oil from algae produces fuel that we can use. This method however, leaves behind a huge amount of useless and valueless biomass. At the moment, the only uses are for this material are animal feeds and mariculture.
This is where we come in. At Materialize.x, we take the low grade, low value biomass and turn it into something valuable. By combining the plant waste with non-toxic chemicals, natural fibres and an organic binder -which is also obtained from a waste stream of a large industry- we have created a tough but temporary biomaterial that can be used for a variety of different applications. We have discovered a formula that is scalable, as well as completely bio-degradable and made from waste products. This is due to the abundance of the raw material and the cheap binding formula used in the process. The material is 100% biodegradable, and has a ‘bio-plastic’ coating. Depending on the thickness of this coating, the material will react with ground moisture to degrade in two days, two months or two years.
BI-ORGANIC displays a wide range of mechanical and chemical properties, and is moulded, pressed or even 3d printed into many shapes and sizes.
Our first product to the market is the world’s first bio-degradable road and flooring, ideal for short events and exhibits. Festivals such as Glastonbury have a huge infrastructure issue that is not only impractical, but also very costly. This year alone, Glastonbury Festival spent £250,000 on temporary roads for the site, creating logistical problems of installation, maintenance and disposal.
Materialize.x offers a cheaper and more sustainable solution to festival flooring. Installation of our bio-road is easy and after the event will naturally degrade on-site. Our material not only disappears over time, but also provides the soil with valuable nutrients. We are also working on impregnating the road with different kind of seeds, allowing trees and flowers to repopulate the land.
Our vision for the future is that any large system can be made sustainable. As a society we are ready for a paradigm shift in our consumption patterns.