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New approaches to construction encourage a sustainable and circular future

In this latest article from the Definitive Guide to Industrial Products and Services for a Sustainable Future, we see how Biohm is inspiring the transformation of the construction industry with radical approaches to construction.

Climate change is literally a hot topic. Every industry has a role to play in reducing carbon dioxide emissions, including the construction industry. According to a report According to the International Energy Agency, construction accounted for 39% of CO2 emissions in 2018, 11% of which came from the manufacture of building materials and products such as steel, cement and glass.

To address this challenge, the World Economic Forum, along with a number of other global organizations, is working to replace our current take-do-waste society with a circular economy.

“In the construction sector, a circular approach would start by looking, rather than virgin resources, at the resources that are already circulating, whether surplus or wasted, and feeding them into a new system. Then, at the end of a product’s life, it enters a new cycle, whether biodegraded or recirculated in the same production process,” says Ehab Sayed, founder of Biohm, a biomanufacturing start-up based in London.

Over the past six years, Biohm has developed such bio-based products and processes, including a mycelium-based building insulation product (made from fungi), a sheet material made from waste by-products, a plant-based concrete and Triagomy, its patented construction. system.

Inspiration from waste

The idea for Biohm was born in 2016 when Sayed was undertaking a Masters of Science at Brunel University in London. Analyzing waste streams in construction, he was shocked at the amount of hazardous waste that was not being disposed of properly.

Inspired, he began modeling a building system in Solidworks using his college software license. “The idea came from looking at how nature builds the strongest materials, which is carbon, and trying to figure out how the carbon molecules bond together. I then replicated the angles and geometry on Solidworks to create the components needed for Triagomy,” he describes. He then searched for durable, reasonably priced materials to use in this building system. Finding nothing, he focused on developing his Researching the root systems of the mycelium, he realized that their complex internal structure, which had many air pockets, would be ideal for creating building insulation.

Building on the positive results of his prototypes and testbeds, he created a start-up to grow mycelium in the lab and experiment with different strains that can feed on various waste streams, including polyurethane and polyethylene.

Keen to continue using Solidworks as a start-up, Sayed was thrilled to discover the Entrepreneur program offered by Solid Solutions.

“Solidworks is the best out there and if you’re used to it and enjoy all of its features it’s really hard not to use it so we were very grateful to find this program which has been a really good experience from Start.

“We got three full-featured licenses and have since purchased two more,” he says.

Full use of tools

Biohm uses all Solidworks tools. Solidworks Visualize, which allows it to better communicate its products through animation, is particularly useful, as well as the simulation tools, which are used to develop systems and construction products as well as to create the components used in the processes. of production.

“We are creating entirely new products, systems and processes and the simulation functionality has been absolutely essential. For example, to scale the mycelium installation process from lab scale to production scale, we had to model an entire installation from scratch and all components and parts were designed, developed and tested. using Solidworks,” says Sayed.

Revolutionize construction

Biohm has grown rapidly in just six years. Solidworks has been instrumental in enabling the company to scale at this pace.

“We couldn’t be happier using Solidworks in all the ways we do, from creating our products, testing production processes, to creating animations. It is really hard to find all these features in one software. But it’s not just what we can do with it, using it also means we reduce costs and save a lot of time during the development process,” says Sayed.

Biohm has the ambition to revolutionize the construction industry and the next few years will see it commercialize many of its products and systems. “The Covid pandemic has revealed many flaws in our systems and the climate crisis is becoming a huge challenge, so there is a real opportunity to show how nature offers a new way of doing things,” Sayed concludes.

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If you have ideas, we can help you with the software, training and support needed to bring them to life. Learn more about or call Solid Solutions on 01926333777

For more information on Biohm’s revolutionary building systems, please visit:

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Content published by Professional Engineering does not necessarily represent the views of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.