Viewpoints Industry reports that according to the EPA, construction is not one of the cleanest, most environmentally friendly sectors in operation today. In fact, the construction industry results in 40% of the world's CO2 emissions, and 40% of the content in US landfill sites. Cement has been one of the industry's standard building materials for millennia. The ancient Romans refined the process of making cement, one that had already been around for many years before their time. A great deal of work -- resulting in a huge carbon footprint -- is required in order to make cement. But a researcher at the University of Edinburgh has found a better material from which to construct buildings, especially where raw materials and resources are scarce.
Viewpoints Industry examines a new building material that might replace concrete in some applications.
The Viewpoints Industry TV show is closely following the results of experiments using sporosarcina pasteurii, a bacterium that has the ability to bind material together. Mixing this bacteria with loose aggregate, such as common sand, and adding an activating agent, can produce a very stable material with which one can build housing or whatever structures are needed. The activating agent is very common as well: urea, derived from urine. And it's all biodegradable. This formula will allow development in remote, resource-poor regions or quick, reliable rebuilding following a natural disaster such as an earthquake or tsunami. This will go a long way toward making a building truly environmentally friendly.
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