Science & Technology

Bacteria Could Help Build Sustainable, Eco-Friendly Construction Materials

Adaptavate is creating biodegradable plasterboard that’s made utilizing crop waste as a substitute of gypsum. Credit score: Adaptavate

Researchers on the College of Tub are investigating whether or not the pure properties of micro organism may assist in creating a brand new sort of environmentally pleasant plasterboard.

They’re working with start-up firm Adaptavate, which makes sustainable constructing supplies. Their biodegradable plasterboard, Breathaboard makes use of compostable crop waste as a substitute of gypsum, is lighter, and has higher thermal and acoustic insulation in contrast with conventional plasterboard.

Microbiologists from the College of Tub’s Division of Biology & Biochemistry, and concrete specialists from the Division of Structure and Civil Engineering have been awarded funding by the Nationwide Biofilms Innovation Centre (NBIC), for a six-month pilot undertaking that goals to optimize the properties of the prototype plasterboard utilizing their bacteria-based building expertise (BBCT).

If profitable, the plasterboard will be scaled up and developed additional.

Dr. Susanne Gebhard, Senior Lecturer within the College’s Division of Biology and Biochemistry and the Milner Centre for Evolution, is main the undertaking in collaboration with Professor Kevin Paine from the College’s Division of Structure and Civil Engineering.

She stated: “Biofilms are fashioned when micro organism stick collectively to coat a floor, versus rising neat dot-shaped clumps on a petri dish.

“This can be a actually thrilling undertaking that may see whether or not we will exploit the pure biofilm-forming skills of micro organism to perform as a sort of glue that may assist enhance the properties of biodegradable building supplies.”

Jeff Ive, Technical Director at Adaptavate, stated: “Gypsum is the third most used building materials and accounts for 3% of UK carbon emissions.

“It’s both mined or produced from waste from coal energy stations and is changing into more and more costly to supply. Because it’s calcium sulphate primarily based, it additionally must be disposed of fastidiously so it doesn’t hurt the setting.

“Our Breathaboard is a low carbon sustainable different to gypsum primarily based plasterboard and will make an actual distinction to the carbon emissions of the development business.

“We’re delighted to be working with the College of Tub to additional develop this product.”

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