The idea behind the Permafungi project is based on two observations: the abundance of urban waste and the relatively high unemployment rate among young people. Research was therefore launched in 2013 to recycle coffee grounds. These coffee grounds would enable the production oyster mushrooms while offering stable, sustainable employment to young people in Brussels. After a pilot phase in the cellars of the Atelier des Tanneurs in 2014, Julien Jacquet and his team set up shop at Tour & Taxis.
Permafungi recycles 5 tonnes of coffee grounds per month, to produce 1 tonne of oyster mushrooms and 10 tonnes of natural fertiliser. Those coffee grounds are collected by bike.
The PerMateria project, funded by Innoviris, transforms champost (the residue from oyster mushroom cultivation) into a sustainable, biodegradable material by adding mycelium, the seed of the mushroom, which can replace plastic in the insulation and packaging sectors. The mushroom material is handcrafted without artificial processes and remains totally natural. Its qualities of strength, impermeability and fire resistance make it ideal for creating high-quality, compostable products.
Watch our short video City of Innovators with Permafungi here !
The impact on Brussels
The PerMateria project impacts the city of Brussels and its inhabitants in several ways. The first is by recycling local waste such as coffee grounds. The second is by creating rewarding manual jobs. The third impact is bringing innovation to the production and consumption process, and the last impact is creating an innovative material for Brussels.
How has Innoviris' support helped you with your project?
Innoviris funding enables us to finance innovation that we cannot fund ourselves. An innovative company like ours, which is starting up and has a very specific business, cannot finance innovation. Innoviris funding allows us to take a risk in research, to create a new project. We cannot use the profits generated by mushrooms to fund a research project. Innoviris enabled us to finance PerMateria.
Our Industrial Research team supported Permafungi in the "Circular Innovation: re-use & recycle" programme through our Scientific Advisor, Gilles Ysebaert.
Advice for future innovators
Julien's first piece of advice is to explain your project in one page and carry out an initial check with Innoviris. Future beneficiaries can start filling in a draft application and see if it meets expectations, so as not to waste time completing a full application. Julien Jacquet would also like to point out that Innoviris does not pre-finance projects as such. Beneficiaries must dispose of their own budget to launch their project before Innoviris' intervention.
Who is Julien Jacquet?
Julien Jacquet is CEO of Permafungi, a company that works with mushrooms to improve cities.
Is your company looking to develop an innovative project? Innoviris can help you, from the idea stage through to financing! Find out more about our Innovation Journey here.