Putting Nature to Work

While these entrepreneurs are remediating contaminated areas, they’re putting the “fun” back in fungi

One of the biggest challenges currently facing the oil and gas industry is contaminated site remediation. While the processes involved in extracting and transporting fossil fuels help provide energy and economic prosperity for Canada and beyond, they can leave behind hydrocarbon contamination of the environment sparking a negative view of the industry. But what if there was a way to effectively remediate this contamination – and what if it was 100 percent natural? MycoRemedy is working hand-in-hand with industry to do just this.

Aliya Dossa (left), economist and business co-founder and Kelcie Miller-Anderson, scientist and technical co-founder.
Aliya Dossa (left), economist and business co-founder and Kelcie Miller-Anderson, scientist and technical co-founder.

Cost-friendly and efficient

MycoRemedy is a new environmental remediation startup founded by two 22-year-old Canadians, Kelcie Miller-Anderson and Aliya Dossa. Unlike alternative methods, their company remediates the natural way without utilizing any chemical or energy intensive inputs. Because the installation method is completely natural, the technology can be employed in-situ, meaning that the entire process can take place on site, virtually eliminating the transportation, extraction, and heavy machinery-based processes normally involved in remediation. In this way, MycoRemedy makes the remediation process more cost-friendly, efficient, and effective.

The best part is that with MycoRemedy you can protect yourself and your land from damaging pollution before it even happens, virtually eliminating many of the risks associated with spills. Stemming from their observation that nature has already solved a lot of our most complex problems, MycoRemedy provides the most rapid and natural remediation technology available without sacrificing high-quality solutions.

In addition to providing a tangible solution to a real problem, their remediation technology – integrating natural solutions to help solve some of the industry’s waste issues – can help put a more positive light on the sustainability efforts undertaken by industry.

So how does it work?

MycoRemedy utilizes mycelium, the living body of mushrooms, to digest contaminants nature’s way. Apart from protecting and restoring land back to its pristine state, mycelium has also been shown to improve soil quality and rebuild healthy soil.

MycoMats come in easy-to-install, completely natural packaging; just unwrap them and lay them down like sod.
MycoMats come in easy-to-install, completely natural packaging; just unwrap them and lay them down like sod.

The MycoMat, Kelcie and Aliya’s signature technology, is designed with simplicity in mind. MycoMats contain mycelium grown on a straw substrate contained in easy-to-install, completely natural and biodegradable packaging. The MycoMats are simply rolled out for easy installation or inserted vertically into the soil, and the best part is that because they are completely natural and made from bio-compostable and biodegradable materials, they never need to be removed and can remain in the soil indefinitely. Because mycelium grows underground, it will grow down from the MycoMats and into the soil, remediating as it goes.

Although the mycelium starts just within the mat, it is easily able to branch out through the soil forming a network that can cover a large area. In nature, mycelium is able to act as a decomposer by releasing enzymes to break down decaying matter in the ecosystem. MycoMats work the same way. The mycelium releases natural enzymes that are able to break down hydrocarbons and other contaminants in the soil, restoring it back to its natural state.

Improves soil health

In June 2016, Kelcie was recognized by the Alberta Emerald Foundation as one fo the most memorable Emerald Award recipients over the past 25 years.
In June 2016, Kelcie was recognized by the Alberta Emerald Foundation as one of the most memorable Emerald Award recipients over the past 25 years.

Apart from just tackling contamination problems, mycelium is an essential part of any healthy soil system. The mycelium not only digests contaminants but also – just as it does in a natural ecosystem – digests dead and decaying plant matter aiding in the nutrient cycling in the soil. By introducing mycelium to the soil, it not only breaks down contaminants but has also been shown to help to re-establish healthy bacterial communities increasing overall soil health.

Although pipeline spills are few and far between, it never hurts to be proactive. MycoRemedy protects both before and after a spill. Since MycoRemedy’s technology is completely natural, there is no harm in using MycoMats to protect a site before a spill occurs. By having MycoMats ready in your soil, if a spill were to occur, the mycelium within the mats would start the remediation process immediately, potentially reducing the long-term impacts on the soil. Although installing the mats ahead of time can give you peace of mind by minimizing the risks associated with leaks and spills, the technology is also used after the fact to offer rapid and natural remediation.

Traditional methods tend to be very expensive, slow, and often rely on energy intensive inputs. MycoRemedy strives to ensure that cost is not a barrier to effective, rapid, and environmentally conscious remediation to make sure that everyone is able to remediate…the natural way.

“MycoRemedy is currently seeking hydrocarbon contaminated soil sites for remediation. If you have a site available or an inquiry about a collaboration opportunity, please visit www.MycoRemedy.com to get in touch and learn more about their remarkable story.”