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Increasing reforestation success with a novel fungi-based bio-compound material

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Spawnfoam (Increasing reforestation success with a novel fungi-based bio-compound material)

Reporting period: 2018-07-01 to 2018-10-31

The volume of plant failure rate is still a reality that needs to be addressed for the forestation market. These failures are associated with hydric, nutritional and radicular stress, due to transplantation damages, lack of water retention, inappropriate nutrient reserves or diseases. At the same time, agricultural and forestry production produce tons of waste annually, which can be reversed by having this waste put to a different and useful final destination. Moreover, and paradoxically, worldwide production of plants uses plastics that are often deposited in the soil, polluting the environment and putting ecosystems at risk. The Spawnfoam solution aims at disrupting this reality.

We developed a new biocomposite material based in agroforestry byproducts and an organic adhesive, whose first commercial application are plant pots that are environmentally friendly, easy to use and increase plant survival rates in forestation projects. Developed with an intrinsic circular economy logic (by the principles of circular economy, waste becomes raw material, allowing environmental, social and economic benefits), Spawnfoam plant pots are made of byproducts from agricultural and forest activities, strengthened with an organic adhesive in the exact proportion to improve water and minerals absorption which act as growth additives for the plants.

Spawnfoam plant pots are designed to be directly planted on the ground, ensuring greater water retention and the possibility of incorporating biofertilizers and other structural additives, to ensure good mechanical resistance. This leads to optimal growth conditions, reducing plant shock during the process. Its biodegradability and the possibility of returning to the beginning of the production chain as raw material for a new biocomposite, make this alternative a good solution for the transition to a circular economy, since it allows zero waste in the process. The aim is to reduce the use of plastics in plant production.

With our feasibility study, our objective was to ensure that Spawnfoam’s products were viable. We worked with stakeholders (market analysis) and end-users (technical feasibility) collecting their feedback. We have contacted potential partners and clients and expanded our interviews and focus groups to other EU countries. Furthermore, we have also proceeded with the assessment of our market, business model and risks of project deployment. It was important to plan our work schedule for the next two years of Phase 2 project, as well as our business plan. We have also aimed to define our IPR strategy.
The work that has been completed during the period covered by the report is summarized in the following bullets:
• We executed a comprehensive market assessment of hypothesis and assumptions combined with an analysis of environmental forces, market trends, competition and market entry obstacles, risks, opportunities and comprising our resources and constraints.
• We have identified our end-users and potential clients, which are essential to analyze the current market trends
• We have established the commercialization of our biodegradable pots solution for two market segments - Forest Market and the Ornamental Market - and settled our priorities: the range of products to be launched are the biodegradable pots for reforestation and ornamental/aromatic planting.
• We have positioned ourselves as a project contributing to the circular economy, endorsing the increase of tradable and international production, resulting from the interconnection of technology and acquired knowledge.
• We defined a realistic and attainable work program to ensure that all the objectives are met, focusing our attention on specific technical and commercial obstacles that could present limitations to our market introduction.
Developed with an intrinsic circular economy logic, Spawnfoam plant pots are made with byproducts from agricultural and forest activities, strengthened with an organic adhesive in the exact proportion to improve water and minerals absorption that which act as growth additives for the plants. Its biodegradability and the possibility of returning to the beginning of the production chain as raw material for a new biocomposite, make this alternative a good solution for the transition to a circular economy, since it allows zero waste in the process. The aim is to reduce the use of plastics in plant production.

We want to change the society paradigm through the use of 100% ecofriendly materials, reducing the use of plastics, promoting a more consciousness attitude in worldwide economies and increasing efficiency of resource usage for a more circular economy. At the same time, Spawnfoam is concerned about creating new economic models capable of generating richness and employment, as well as promoting competition among companies with less environmental impact. We believe in a more sustainable economic growth in accordance with the European Commission package for circular economy.
Our three long-term goals are the upcycling of agroforestry byproducts for the development of a high added value product, entry in the national and international reforestation market and work with the best strategic partners along the value chain.
Spawnfoam Plant Pots