Scientists are pioneering a bacterial cement production system that uses industrial waste streams to produce low-cost, sustainable cement.
Cement manufacture is currently an unsustainable industry — approximately 5 % of annual global carbon emissions come from this sector, and this is expected to grow rapidly. There is an urgent need for an economical and environmentally friendly cement production method.
Funded by the EU, the ECO-CEMENT
project aims to use a naturally occurring bacterial reaction to produce cement from industrial waste. This will have the dual benefit of valourising waste streams and avoiding major carbon emissions.The first stage of the project has identified a number of waste streams that could be used as raw materials for bacteria to produce cement. These include cement kiln dust (a source of calcium), biological wastes (a source of urea) and dairy wastes as nutrient sources for the bacteria.
ECO-CEMENT has tested a number of bacteria that can perform the reaction needed for cement production. Sporosarcina pasteurii was identified as the most suitable due to its high reaction rate and overall environmental hardiness.Researchers have also begun a life-cycle assessment to measure how sustainable this process is in comparison to traditional cement production methods. Early predictions suggest that ECO-CEMENT will lead to reductions in greenhouse gas emissions (11 %), construction waste (20 %) and overall production costs (21 %).
Provided by Cordis