Guest blog by 2018 The Hague Innovator Fungalogic:

"We believe nature holds the key to a sustainable building industry"

Last month, ImpactCity’s brand-new 2018 The Hague Innovators were announced. Startup Fungalogic took home the student prize of €10,000. Fungalogic works with fungi to transform natural and fiber-rich waste into smart building materials. In his guest contribution, Fungalogic’s Marc Postel reflects on the year ahead.

At Fungalogic, we want to help save the world by making sustainable buildings available to everyone. Lowering the environmental impact of houses here in the Netherlands is only a fraction of the challenge that faces the building industry. In the coming three decades, cities around the globe will expand by 75%. This means that buildings will have to be built to house the lives of an additional 3 billion people. While, at the same time, the built environment and the building industry have an enormous environmental impact. Even more pragmatically put: we just don’t have enough of certain materials to sustain the current way of building.

A realistic future

In order to give humanity a realistic future on this planet we have to drastically change the way we build our buildings. We think there is a different way and that we hold a part of the solution. By using natural waste materials, we can build with positive impact at affordable prices. Fungi help us to turn useless organic waste into a usable composite material. And the beauty is that it can be done with the waste of plants and crops that grow in most places around the world.

The material is lightweight, relatively strong, and has good insulating properties. It has inspired us to start developing a modern and modular building method, which is quick, versatile and cheap, while meeting contemporary regulations and comfort standards.

“Having The Hague be the epicenter of a movement of fungal material growers would be awesome” – Marc Postel, founder at startup Fungalogic

The feasibility of our technology

In the coming year, we want to further develop this method and build a pavilion in The Hague, showcasing the feasibility of our technology. A big part of making that possible is expanding our team with passionate and skilled new members and moving our lab+office+workshop to a new location where we (and our fungi) can grow.

An international network

Since our focus and ambition go beyond the borders of this country, another important goal for us this year is to lay the foundation of an international network of fungal material growers. As we speak, we’re taking the first steps and it is very exciting. By joining forces, we can develop and spread knowledge. As a result, we can have an enormous impact much more quickly. We will start by teaching others about the possibilities and benefits of fungi online, but we hope that physical pavilions – like the one we envision in The Hague – will follow soon. Having The Hague be the epicenter of such a movement would be awesome.

A great opportunity

The City of The Hague has given us this great opportunity. To all those who want to start a business and are considering joining the The Hague Innovators Challenge, I would say, “The financial support is great and the obligation to deliver is a big stick and helps you to progress. So join, but don’t let winning or losing distract you from your goal and the milestones towards it. Eventually, it is you who determines the success of your company.”

Interested to hear more about Fungalogic’s journey? Check back here, as we’ll be reporting on their progress. Also, have a look at their website and follow them on Facebook.