Global cement production accounts for 8 to 9 percent of global CO2 emissions. The Dutch engineering company Bioclear earth from Groningen is testing plenty of alternatives to replace cement in concrete. Bacteria seem to be an option.
Experiments from ten years ago to replace cement in concrete with bacteria were a measure of nothing. Director Sytze Keuning: “From literature research you get a recipe and I started that last year. You build an increasingly solid block based on improving recipes. And after such a block you keep getting new ideas on how to do it even better. ” Student Akkelien Jansen contributed to that new “recipe”. Instead of cement, she added more and more bacteria to gravel and sand, the other two ingredients in concrete. “Those bacteria stick the gravel and sand together. They produce calcite, which is high in calcium carbonate, which has an effect similar to cement. You do it at room temperature, ”says Jansen.
These “bioblocks” are currently not yet sturdy enough to be used for buildings, so further research is needed. A possible application could be to use the bioblocks as a temporary fence. Bioclear earth is therefore looking for other partners to carry out further tests and experiments with bioblocks. This bioblock project is one of many innovative projects that Bioclear earth is working on, with a focus on soil structures and how to manipulate their properties through biochemistry.
© photo Bioclear