Headquartered in Green Island, New York, Ecovative Design LLC is a medium size, bio-materials company focusing on developing innovative materials from natural growth processes.
Ecovative developed from a university project of founders Eben Bayer and Gavin McIntyre. In their Inventor's Studio course at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute taught by Burt Swersey, Eben and Gavin pursued mycelium as a binding substance to create a mushroom-based insulation, formerly called Greensulate. In Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's business incubator, the pair patented the material. In 2008, they were awarded $700,000 first place in the Picnic Green Challenge.
Since 2008, Ecovative Design has developed and commercialized production of a protective packaging called EcoCradle. Non-food agricultural by-products like husks and plant stalks from rice, buckwheat, and cottonseed combine with mycelium to grow tunable materials like EcoCradle. The company has produced protective packaging for companies including Dell, Puma SE, and Steelcase. In spring 2012, Ecovative Design opened a new production facility and announced a partnership with Sealed Air to expand production of the packaging materials.
Ecovative Design has developed a process which uses fungal mycelium to bind materials together and grow them into specific shapes. The process uses an agricultural waste product such as cotton hulls, cleaning the material, heating it up, inoculating it to create growth of the fungal mycelium, growing the material for period of about five days, and finally heating it to make the fungus inert. During growth, the material's shape can be molded into various products including protective packaging, building products, apparel, car bumpers, or surfboards. The environmental footprint of the products is minimized through the use of agricultural waste, reliance on natural and non-controlled growth environments, and home compostable final products.
Popular Science featured the composite insulation in its 2009 Invention Awards. Season 6, Episode 8 (25:20) of CSI: New York, also featured the insulation as lab technicians tested the materials' flame resistant properties after finding particles on a victim's clothing. Packaging World magazine featured Ecovative on its July 2011 cover, suggesting that the company is poised to "be a game changer in various industries."  The World Economic Forum also recognized Ecovative as a Technology Pioneer in 2011.
The development of the material and processes has been supported by the Picnic Green Challenge, the Environmental Protection Agency, National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA), ASME, the National Science Foundation, NYSERDA, 3M New Ventures, The DOEN Foundation, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a license agreement with Sealed Air. In addition to an array of awards, Ecovative's materials have been extensively highlighted in Material ConneXion libraries around the world.
- Pasko, Jessica (25 June 2007). "Mushrooms are eco-friendly insulation". USA Today. Retrieved 24 July 2012.
- "History". EcovativeDesign.com. Ecovative Design. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
- "Amerikaan wint Picnic Green Challenge". Parool.nl. 26 September 2008. Retrieved 24 July 2012.
- Binder, Libuse. "Ecovative Design: Making Magic Out of Mushrooms". Earth 911. Retrieved 24 July 2012.
- "Sealed Air and Ecovative Complete Agreement to Accelerate Commercialization of New Sustainable Packaging Material". The New York Times. 20 June 2012. Retrieved 26 July 2012.
- Nearing, Brian (4 June 2012). "Ecovative keeps growing". Times Union. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
- US patent 8001719, Eben Bayer, Gavin McIntyre, Burt Swersey, "Method for producing rapidly renewable chitinous material using fungal fruiting bodies and product made thereby", published 2011-08-23, assigned to Ecovative Design, LLC
- "Are mushrooms the new plastic?". ted.com (TED CONFERENCES, LLC). Event occurs at 5:45. Retrieved 27 July 2012.
- "Mushroom-Based Packaging Uses 98% Less Energy than Styrofoam". GreenBiz.com. 20 August 2010. Retrieved 26 July 2012.
- Hsu, Jeremy (June 2009). "Green Styrofoam: An Eco-Friendly Insulation Made From Mushrooms". Popular Science. Retrieved 27 July 2012.
- "It's Greensulate - CSI-NY goes high tech; features Ecovative Design!". NCIIA. Retrieved 27 July 2012.
- Reynolds, Pat (July 2011). "Are mushrooms the future of protective packaging?". Packaging World.
- "EcoCradle Mushroom Packaging". Retrieved 22 October 2013.
- "Clean Tech" (PDF). Empowering People and Transforming Society: The World Economic Forum’s Technology Pioneers 2011. World Economic Forum. p. 12. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
- "Greensulate (Ecovative Design)". National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
- Allen, Pam (27 May 2011). "Ecovative's growth plans assured through equity investment assures". The Business Review. Retrieved 26 July 2012.
- Dent, Andrew. "A library of new materials: Exotic, but applicable". The Economist. Retrieved 24 July 2012.