Pyrus – A Wood Alternative Wins 2021 Dyson Award

Gabe Tavas – This year’s Amerian James Dyson Award winner is waging war against deforestation head first with his synthetic wood invention Pyrus. His mission is simple – don’t cut down trees to make wood.

Using Design to Save the Rainforest

Gabe, in his quest to save nature, found a way to strike a balance between nature and design. He came up with a way to create wood by using bacterial cellulose. Bacterial cellulose is the core component of wood. He managed to successfully use that to create an alternative material – the property of his invention inmates exotic woods found in the Amazon Rainforest.

How Exactly Did He Manage to Create Pyrus?

Gabe broke down two essential components of any wood – cellulose, and Lignin. Cellulose provides the basic shape, while Lignin acts as a glue. Gabe managed to use kombucha waste to create wood. Kombucha companies use microorganisms that produce cellulose on top of the liquid. To create Pyrus – Tava blended the sheets of cellulose to an even consistency. He then embedded them into a gel. Once the gel dries, the structure hardens and is then placed under a mechanical press – this press forms a wood-like material. And just like wood – this material too can be sanded, cut, and coated with resins.

How Is This Different From Other Wood Alternatives?

True, there are many companies that are creating wood alternatives, then how does Pyrus stand out from the rest? The answer is sawdust. Companies use sawdust to create wood-like material. And while it is a good option to reuse the already existing wood, slowing down deforestation – using sawdust still requires chopping of trees. Pyrus, on the other hand, completely eradicates the need for chopping wood. Apart from that, sawdust imposes some serious health risks to those workers who are over-exposed to it – in some cases; it can even lead to cancer.

Not only does using Pyrus save the forest – there are no dangerous oils being used for its creation – ensuring no health risk to its creators.