The growing consumer awareness of the growing problem with livestock and meat production due to high nitrogen emissions and the related impact on climate change is driving the consumption of plant-based vegetarian alternatives. Likewise, there is also an increasing demand for animal-free, eco-friendly alternative vegan leather. That is why there is a lot of interest in developing leathery vegan materials from different plant sources, such as materials based on mango, pineapple and mushrooms.
However, the commercialization and growth of sustainable vegan leather production is significantly hampered by the difficulty of achieving the required quality for the various consumer products, as well as the high prices of the vegan alternatives.
In the Growing Leather project, two SMEs, BioscienZ and B4Plastics, will join forces with Avans University of Applied Sciences to develop vegan leather from the mushroom-based material mycelium.
BioScienZ is a biotech company with a strong expertise and capacity to produce cheap mycelium of consistent quality. B4Plastics is a materials development company with strengths in designing and distributing eco-plastic products.
In this project, Avans University of Applied Sciences will use different mycelium types (produced by BioscienZ) and, under the guidance of B4Plastics, test different additives under many different conditions in order to ultimately develop an environmentally friendly, vegan material that has similar material properties to animal material leather and is competitive in price.