Scientists convert industrial carbide sludge and urea from mammalian urine into environmentally friendly cement

Scientists at Nanyang Technological University (NTU Singapore) in Singapore have discovered a way to make biocement from waste, making it a greener and more sustainable alternative to ordinary cement. Biocement is a type of renewable cement that binds soil to a concrete block using bacteria to induce a hardening reaction. The biocement is now made by NTU scientists using two common waste materials – industrial carbide sludge and urea (from mammalian urine). He invented a method for mixing urea with calcium ions to form a hard solid, or precipitate, in industrial carbide sludge.

The precipitate binds the soil particles together and when this reaction occurs in the soil, it fills the gaps between them, resulting in a compacted mass of soil. This results in a biocement block that is strong, long lasting and impervious to water.

research was published In Journal of Environmental Chemical Engineering, The researchers believe that their biocement could be used to improve soil in a variety of ways, including hardening the ground for construction or excavation, limiting beach erosion, dust in the desert or This includes reducing wind erosion and establishing freshwater reservoirs on or in beaches. desert.

It can also be used as a biogrout to seal cracks in rock for leak control and even to touch up and repair monuments such as rock carvings and sculptures.

NTU also shared a video on YouTube explaining the research and showing methods of using biocement.

Professor Chu Jian, chairman of the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, who is also director of NTU’s Center for Urban Solutions, Told Biocement was a sustainable and renewable alternative to traditional cement which has great potential in construction projects. In the long run, this will not only cut down on the cost of producing biocement, but will also cut down on the cost of waste disposal.

Biocement production is more environmentally friendly than standard cement production processes. Professor Chu said that burning of raw materials at high temperatures over 1000 °C to generate clinker – the binding agent of cement – ​​is one aspect of the cement making process. This process emits a significant amount of carbon dioxide. Biocement, on the other hand, is made at room temperature without using any energy, making it a greener, less energy-intensive and carbon-neutral process.

According to the researchers, if biocement production can be increased to standard cement-manufacturing levels, the overall cost of production will be lower, making biocement a greener and less expensive alternative to cement.

The team is currently testing the biocement on the beaches of Singapore, where it is being used to improve sand. A hard crust is created by spraying a solution of biocement over the sand, which prevents the sand from going into the ocean.

The team is also looking at other large-scale applications in Singapore, such as repairing highways by sealing fractures and sealing gaps in underground tunnels to avoid water seepage.

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