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課程來源:TED
     

 

Eben Bayer 談蘑菇會成為新塑膠材料嗎?

Eben Bayer: Are mushrooms the new plastic?

 

 

Photo of three lions hunting on the Serengeti.

講者:Eben Bayer

2010年7月演講,2010年10月在TED上線

 

翻譯:洪曉慧

編輯:劉契良

簡繁轉換:陳盈

後製:洪曉慧

字幕影片後制:謝旻均

 

影片請按此下載

閱讀中文字幕純文字版本

 

關於這場演講

產品設計師Eben Bayer揭示了他的一個新配方,以菌絲體為基質的包裝材料,可保護如家具、電漿電視等脆弱的東西,以及我們的環境。

 

關於Eben Bayer

Eben Bayer是MycoBond的共同發明者,一種有機黏合劑(萬分不假,它是以菌絲體為基質,活生生且會生長的有機體),可將農作廢料轉變成泡沫狀材料,做為包裝和絕緣使用。

 

為什麼要聽他演講

Eben Bayer 協助發明了MycoBond,這是一種使用絲狀真菌將農作廢棄產品轉化為堅固複合材料的技術。或者,如CNN所述:「以非科學的術語來說,他們磨碎種子殼,並將其碎片與蘑菇根部黏合在一起。」他們的產品包括包裝和保麗龍替代品,目前正為建築業者開發Greensulate硬質絕緣板。創造這兩種產品所需能源均比人工合成材料(如:泡沫塑料)還少,因為它實際上是生長出來的。同樣引人注目的是,在其使用壽命結束後,可做為自家堆肥,甚至當成園藝覆土。

 

「更好地管理材料有三個原則。首先,它們應該幾乎在地球上任何地方都可以製造。其次,它們生產所需能源應比目前的材料大幅減少。最後,它們應該能被大自然美妙開放的資源回收系統處理掉。」

-Eben Bayer

 

Eben Bayer的英語網上資料

首頁:Ecovative Design

Twitter:@ebenbayer(翻譯當時無法連上網站)

 

[TED科技‧娛樂‧設計]

已有中譯字幕的TED影片目錄(繁體)(簡體)。請注意繁簡目錄是不一樣的。

 

Eben Bayer 談蘑菇會成為新塑膠材料嗎?

今天,我想花幾分鐘時間,跟大家一起想像一千年後我們地球可能的模樣。但在此之前,我得跟你們談談一些合成材料,如塑膠類。製造它們需要大量的能源,因為它們的處理問題,慢慢的毒害了我們的地球。我也想告訴你們,與你們分享,我和我的團隊如何在過去三年一直使用蘑菇。不是那種(編按:毒品)。(笑聲)。我們使用蘑菇創造一個全新的材料種類,它使用時的形態很像塑膠,但由農作物廢料製成,且在其使用壽命終了時,可完全腐化分解。

 

(歡呼聲)

 

但首先,我要和你們談談,我認為一次性使用的塑膠類中,最惡名昭彰的罪魁禍首之一。這是一種你們都知道的材料,保麗龍,但我喜歡把它想成有毒的白色東西。一立方英尺的這種材料,大約是電腦或大型電視機的外包裝大小,能源含量相當於約一公升半的石油。然而,經過短短幾周的使用,你會將這種材料扔進垃圾桶。它不只用於包裝,這種材料每年生產量達200億美元,包含從衝浪板到咖啡杯,再到桌面的製材,而這不是它存在唯一的地方。環境保護局估計,在美國,以體積來說,這種材料占垃圾掩埋量的25%。更糟糕的是,若以它進入我們自然環境的方式來看,像是棄置在路邊或河邊,如果不是由你我其中一人撿起,它會留在那裡成千上萬年。也許還更糟。若以它進入我們海洋的方式來看,就像個大塑膠漩渦。這些材料被物理性的粉碎,成為越來越小的粒子,但它們並不是真正的消失。它們不具生物相容性,它們基本上會阻塞地球的呼吸和循環系統。而且因為這些材料是如此多產,存在於如此多的地方,你還會在另一個地方發現這種材料,苯乙烯;是由苯聚合而成,為已知的致癌物質,你會發現它深入你體內。

 

因為所有這些原因,我認為我們需要更好的材料。有三個主要原則,我們可用來作為使用這些材料的指南,首先是原料。今天,我們使用單一原料,石油,為我們的房屋提供暖氣,給予汽車動力,製造你身邊所見的大部分材料。我們知道這是一種有限的資源,就在你每次收到一個包裹的時候,等於把一公升半的汽油丟在垃圾箱,簡直是瘋狂的舉動。第二,我們應該確實努力大幅減少能源使用,藉由創造這些材料達成。我說大幅減少,因為10%並不會使它減少,我們應該討論的是將它減少成為一半、四分之一、十分之一的能源含量。最後,我想也許是最重要的,我們應該創造適用於我所謂的大自然回收系統的材料。這個回收系統已存在了上億年,你我都適用於它。我的身體不需預做處理,頂多百年就可回歸地球。而我昨天收到的郵件包裝,將存在數千年,這真是瘋狂。

 

但大自然為我們提供了一個相當好的模式。當一棵樹使用完它的葉子,它的太陽能收集器,這些了不起的分子光子捕捉裝置在一季結束時,它不須將它們包裝起來,帶去樹葉再生中心讓它們融化,形成新的葉子。它只需將它們丟棄在最短的可能距離,丟在森林的地面,它們就會確實重生在明年的土壤表面上。我們再回來談蘑菇。因為在自然界,蘑菇就是回收系統。我們發現的是,藉由使用你可能從未見過的蘑菇部分,類似於它的根部結構,它被稱為菌絲體,使用許多相同於常規合成的特性,我們確實可以增生出材料。

 

菌絲體是一種了不起的材料,因為它是一種自我組裝材料。事實上,它將我們認為是廢物的東西,像是種子外殼或木質生物質,將它們轉化成幾丁質聚合物,幾乎可以把它做成任何形狀。在我們的過程中,我們基本上將它當作為黏合劑使用。藉由使用菌絲體作為黏合劑,你可以像在塑膠行業一樣塑造東西。可以創造具有許多不同特性的材料,如絕緣、防火、防潮、防水氣等材料。這些材料可以吸收一些影響,可以吸收聲音的影響,但這些材料是由農業副產品產出,不是石油。而且因為它們是由天然材料製成,100%可以在你家後院中分解。

 

所以我想與你們分享製造這些材料所必須的四個基本步驟。首先是原料選擇。最好是某些區域性的東西,在你區域中當地製造。其次是實際取出這種原料,放在一個模具中,物理性的填充在一個外殼,即一個模型中,任何你想得到的形狀都可以。然後,實際上讓菌絲體穿過這些顆粒生長,這也正是魔法發生的時候。因為有機物在這個過程中作用,而不是設備。最後一步,當然,即產品。無論是包裝材料、桌面或建築材料塊,我們的願景是當地製造,像以當地食品運輸來進行生產。因此,我們已在世界各地創造了配方,使用地區性副產品。如果在中國,可能會使用稻殼或棉籽殼;如果在北歐和北美,可以使用如蕎麥殼或燕麥殼。然後,我們用一些基本設備處理這些種子殼。

 

我要與你們分享一個我們的設備的影片,讓你有個量化的概念。這個例子中,你看到的事實上是來自德州的棉籽殼,這是一個廢棄產品。他們在我們設備中所做的,是一個連續系統的進行過程。有清洗、烹煮、冷卻,並將這些材料消毒殺菌,同時還持續與我們的菌絲接種。這產生了一個連續的物質流,我們幾乎可以將它做成任何形狀,而今天我們正在製作三角塊。當這個蓋子蓋上,魔法真正開始發生。由於進行這個製造過程的是我們的有機體,它將實際上開始消化這些廢料,並在接下來的五天,將它們組裝成生物複合材料。我們的整個設施,由成千上萬的這些模具組成,在室內的黑暗中靜悄悄的自我組裝著材料。包含一切材料,如建築材料,以及這裡的一箱三角塊。

 

我說很多次,我們生長出材料,但很難想像這種情形如何發生。所以,我的團隊拍攝了五個生長日。這對我們來說,是一個典型的生長週期,將它以15秒的間隔壓縮。我希望你們相當仔細的觀察這些在螢幕上的白色小點,因為,在為期五天的時間內,它們向外延伸,穿過這種材料,使用包含在這些種子殼中的能源,建造出這個幾丁質聚合物基質。這個自我組裝的基質,穿過粒子並在粒子周圍生長,製造出億萬個微小纖維,我們不能消化的種子殼部分,實際上會成為最終物理複合材料的一部分。因此,在你眼前的,只是自我組裝的部分,它實際上需要

長一點時間,需要五天的時間,但它的速度遠遠快於傳統耕作。

 

最後一步,當然是應用。在這個情況下,我們已生長出一個三角塊,一個在《財富》雜誌全球排名前500的主要傢俱製造商,使用這些三角塊保護它們桌子的裝運,它們之前使用塑膠包裝來做緩衝,但用我們的生長出的材料,我們可以提供完全一樣的物理性能。最重要的是,當它到達客戶手中時,並不是垃圾。他們事實上可以不經任何處理,把這個放在自然生態系統中,這將改善當地的土壤。

 

那麼,為什麼使用菌絲體?第一個原因是,它是當地的開放原料,你希望在世界各地都能做到這一點,而不必擔心稻殼或棉籽殼需求高峰期,因為有多種選擇。其次是自我組裝。因為在這個過程中,事實上是有機物做大部分的運作,並不需要很多的設備,建設生產設施,所以,可以有很多小設施遍佈世界各地。生物收益率是非常重要的。我們放入模具中的東西,100%會成為最終產品,即使是那些未被消化的部分,也會成為部分結構,我們得到驚人的收益率。

 

天然聚合物是我認為最重要的,因為這些聚合物在我們過去數億年的生態系統中已經過試驗,從蘑菇到甲殼類動物都是。它們不會阻塞地球的生態系統,它們運作的很棒。今天,事實上,我們可以保證,昨天的包裝10000年後仍將存在。我可以保證,10000年後,我們的後代,我們之後的每一代,將生活的幸福而和諧,因為有一個健康的地球。我認為,這會是一個真正非常好的消息。

 

謝謝

 

(掌聲)

 

 

以下為系統擷取之英文原文

About this talk

Product designer Eben Bayer reveals his recipe for a new, fungus-based packaging material that protects fragile stuff like furniture, plasma screens -- and the environment. 

About Eben Bayer

Eben Bayer is co-inventor of MycoBond, an organic (really -- it's based on mycelium, a living, growing organism) adhesive that turns agriwaste into a foam-like material for packaging and insulation. Full bio and more links

Transcript

So, I'd like to spend a few minutes with you folks today imagining what our planet might look like in a thousand years. But before I do that, I need to talk to you about synthetic materials like plastics, which require huge amounts of energy to create and, because of their disposal issues, are slowly poisoning our planet. I also want to tell you and share with you how my team and I have been using mushrooms over the last three years. Not like that. (Laughter) We're using mushrooms to create an entirely new class of materials, which perform a lot like plastics during their use, but are made from crop waste and are totally compostable at the end of their lives.

(Cheering)

But first, I need to talk to you about what I consider one of the most egregious offenders in the disposable plastics category. This is a material you all know is Styrofoam, but I like to think of it as toxic white stuff. In a single cubic foot of this material -- about what would come around your computer or large television -- you have the same energy content of about a liter and a half of petrol. Yet, after just a few weeks of use, you'll throw this material in the trash. And this isn't just found in packaging. 20 billion dollars of this material is produced every year, in everything from building materials to surfboards to coffee cups to table tops. And that's not the only place it's found. The EPA estimates, in the United States, by volume, this material occupies 25 percent of our landfills. Even worse is when it finds its way into our natural environment -- on the side of the road or next to a river. If it's not picked up by a human, like me and you, it'll stay there for thousands and thousands of years. Perhaps even worse is when it finds its way into our oceans, like in the great plastic gyre, where these materials are being mechanically broken into smaller and smaller bits, but they're not really going away. They're not biologically compatible. They're basically fouling up Earth's respiratory and circulatory systems. And because these materials are so prolific, because they're found in so many places, there's one other place you'll find this material, styrene, which is made from benzine, a known carcinogen. You'll find it inside of you.

So, for all these reasons, I think we need better materials, and there are three key principles we can use to guide these materials. The first is feedstocks. Today, we use a single feedstock, petroleum, to heat our homes, power our cars and make most of the materials you see around you. We recognize this is a finite resource, and it's simply crazy to do this, to put a liter and a half of petrol in the trash every time you get a package. Second of all, we should really strive to use far less energy in creating these materials. I say far less, because 10 percent isn't going to cut it. We should be talking about half, a quarter, one-tenth the energy content. And lastly, and I think perhaps most importantly, we should be creating materials that fit into what I call nature's recycling system. This recycling system has been in place for the last billion years. I fit into it, you fit into it, and a hundred years tops, my body can return to the Earth with no preprocessing. Yet that packaging I got in the mail yesterday is going to last for thousands of years. This is crazy.

But nature provides us with a really good model here. When a tree's done using its leaves -- its solar collectors, these amazing molecular photon capturing devices -- at the end of a season, it doesn't pack them up, take them to the leaf reprocessing center and have them melted down to form new leaves. It just drops them, the shortest distance possible, to the forest floor, where they're actually upcycled into next year's topsoil. And this gets us back to the mushrooms. Because in nature, mushrooms are the recycling system. And what we've discovered is, by using a part of the mushroom you've probably never seen -- analogous to its root structure; it's called mycelium -- we can actually grow materials with many of the same properties of conventional synthetics.

Now, mycelium is an amazing material, because it's a self-assembling material. It actually takes things we would consider waste -- things like seed husks or woody biomass -- and can transform them into a chitinous polymer, which you can form into almost any shape. In our process, we basically use it as a glue. And by using mycelium as a glue, you can mold things just like you do in the plastic industry, and you can create materials with many different properties, materials that are insulating, fire-resistant, moisture-resistant, vapor-resistant -- materials that can absorb impacts, that can absorb acoustical impacts. But these materials are grown from agricultural byproducts, not petroleum. And because they're made of natural materials, they are 100 percent compostable in you own backyard.

So I'd like to share with you the four basic steps required to make these materials. The first is selecting a feedstock, preferably something that's regional, that's in your area, right -- local manufacturing. The next is actually taking this feedstock and putting in a tool, physically filling an enclosure, a mold, in whatever shape you want to get. Then you actually grow the mycelium through these particles, and that's where the magic happens, because the organism is doing the work in this process, not the equipment. The final step is, of course, the product, whether it's a packaging material, a table top, or building block. Our vision is local manufacturing, like the local food movement, for production. So we've created formulations for all around the world using regional byproducts. If you're in China, you might use a rice husk or a cottonseed hull. If you're in Northern Europe or North America, you can use things like buckwheat husks or oat hulls. We then process these husks with some basic equipment.

And I want to share with you a quick video from our facility that gives you a sense of how this looks at scale. So what you're seeing here is actually cotton hulls from Texas, in this case. It's a waste product. And what they're doing in our equipment is going through a continuous system, which cleans, cooks, cools and pasteurizes these materials, while also continuously inoculating them with our mycelium. This gives us a continuous stream of material that we can put into almost any shape, though today we're making corner blocks. And it's when this lid goes on the part, that the magic really starts. Because the manufacturing process is our organism. It'll actually begin to digest these wastes and, over the next five days, assemble them into biocomposites. Our entire facility is comprised of thousands and thousands and thousands of these tools sitting indoors in the dark, quietly self-assembling materials -- and everything from building materials to, in this case, a packaging corner block.

So I've said a number of times that we grow materials. And it's kind of hard to picture how that happens. So my team has taken five days-worth of growth, a typical growth cycle for us, and condensed it into a 15-second time lapse. And I want you to really watch closely these little white dots on the screen, because, over the five-day period, what they do is extend out and through this material, using the energy that's contained in these seed husks to build this chitinous polymer matrix. This matrix self-assembles, growing through and around the particles, making millions and millions of tiny fibers. And what parts of the seed husk we don't digest, actually become part of the final, physical composite. So in front of your eyes, this part just self-assembled. It actually takes a little longer. It takes five days. But it's much faster than conventional farming.

The last step, of course, is application. In this case, we've grown a corner block. A major Fortune 500 furniture maker uses these corner blocks to protect their tables in shipment. They used to use a plastic packaging buffer, but we were able to give them the exact same physical performance with our grown material. Best of all, when it gets to the customer, it's not trash. They can actually put this in their natural ecosystem without any processing, and it's going to improve the local soil.

So, why mycelium? The first reason is local open feedstocks. You want to be able to do this anywhere in the world and not worry about peak rice hull or peak cottonseed hulls, because you have multiple choices. The next is self-assembly, because the organism is actually doing most of the work in this process. You don't need a lot of equipment to set up a production facility. So you can have lots of small facilities spread all across the world. Biological yield is really important. And because 100 percent of what we put in the tool become the final product, even the parts that aren't digested become part of the structure, we're getting incredible yield rates.

Natural polymers, well ... I think that's what's most important, because these polymers have been tried and tested in our ecosystem for the last billion years, in everything from mushrooms to crustaceans. They're not going to clog up Earth's ecosystems. They work great. And while, today, we can practically guarantee that yesterday's packaging is going to be here in 10,000 years, what I want to guarantee is that in 10,000 years, our descendants, our children's children, will be living happily and in harmony with a healthy Earth. And I think that can be some really good news.

Thank you.

(Applause)
 


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