The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory’s (PMEL) mission is to enhance understanding of the role of the oceans in Earth’s climate, collecting observational information with the goal of developing accurate climate and ocean process prediction models. While remote sensing satellite technology is greatly increasing their capability to monitor the ocean surface, this technology does not provide a picture of what is occurring beneath the surface. In order to gather this needed observational data, PMEL conducts research and development on ocean observational systems, namely moored oceanographic buoy arrays.
The plan: to use Mushroom® Packaging’s technology as part of the “next generation” DART-ETD buoy early warning platforms, which will be deployed around the world to help protect coastal communities from tsunamis. This system allows scientists to determine the magnitude and extent of a tsunami while it is still at sea, allowing NOAA to better predict the amplitude and time of impact of the waves on various coastlines.
The Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory will use Ecovative’s mushroom material to protect the DART-ETD system during deployment, when the buoy is dropped off the deck of a ship into the ocean. Testing conducted by NOAA has shown that Ecovative’s products can withstand prolonged exposure to tropical shipping conditions, shorter term direct exposure to rain and sea spray (as experienced on the back deck of a ship), and then break down in both fresh and salt water in a period of less than 5 months, so as not to contribute to the ocean’s plastic gyres. Given NOAA’s needs, Ecovative provides the perfect solution in a low-cost, moldable, 100% bio-based alternative to traditional petrochemical foams.