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Myco-Brewery

Myco-brewery

Myco-insulation1.jpg
 
 

The Myco-brewery combines brewing beer and growing mycelium

 

The Myco-brewery plays on the words 'micro' meaning small and 'myco' as an abbreviation of mycology, the science of mycelium and fungus. This project brings together the two processes of brewing beer and growing mycelium which manifests into an exhibition at Mediamatic, Amsterdam. 

The symbiotic nature of this combination is at the heart of the project; brewing beer produces a waste grain once the sugars have been extracted in the boil, and mycelium needs a substrate to grow on, usually in the form of a grain, eg. rye. Both need to have the right conditions to either ferment or grow (although they need different requirements) so the exhibition showcased the symbiotic relationship. The end outputs are beer (yum) and myco-insulation panels to be used as part of the regeneration of a building on the Mediamatic site. 

 
 
The inputs and outputs of combining two processes: brewing and growing mycelium

The inputs and outputs of combining two processes: brewing and growing mycelium

Fermentation chamber to house the brewing beer in its first phase of fermenation

Fermentation chamber to house the brewing beer in its first phase of fermenation

 
 

Circular Design ...

 

Within nature the waste of one process is the food for another, eg. dead leaves on the ground turn into nutrient rich soil. Can the material world take inspiration from that principle and be designed to turn the linear system of 'take, make, dispose' into a circular, replenishable one? This project begins to think about what that might look like and whether it is actually possible.

Through the process of designing the exhibition and working with the two processes some points raised were through a critical lens:

- How much energy do the chambers use to keep them at the right temperatures, could that be detrimental to the carbon footprint? 

- The beer is sold in bottles which would have to return into the production cycle in order to remain circular, inevitably some leakage is expected, how could a whole system be designed to reduce this? 

- All the material used for the chambers need to be sustainably sourced and for when the exhibition is finished their next purpose counted for. 

- How scalable is this process to make real impact in the world? 

 
Early prototype: Insulation panel made from waste beer grain and mycelium spawn

Early prototype: Insulation panel made from waste beer grain and mycelium spawn