Bacteria could find use to build eco-friendly construction materials, find experts

Industry Insights

Adaptavate- the start-up is into making sustainable materials for buildings. The biodegradable breathaboard, plasterboard of the company is made of compostable crop waste instead of gypsum, comparatively lighter, and has improved thermal and acoustic insulation in comparison to traditional plasterboards.

A team of experts at the Department of Biology & Biochemistry, University of Bath and at the Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering have received funding for a six-month pilot project. The objective is to optimize the properties of plasterboard prototype employing their self-devised bacteria-based construction technology.

If successful, the resultant plasterboard can be scaled up and developed further.

Meanwhile, biofilms develop when bacteria join together to layer a surface, as opposed to expanding clumps on a petri dish that are of dot shaped.

The project is really exciting, says the lead researcher of the study. This paves the way to explore if natural biofilm building abilities of bacteria can be exploited to function as a type of glue to elevate the properties of biodegradable construction substances.

In fact, gypsum accounts as the third-most used construction material and is responsible for 3% carbon-related emissions in the UK.

Gypsum is obtained either via mining or as a waste from coal power plants and is increasingly becoming expensive to produce. Since gypsum is based of calcium sulfate, it requires safe disposal to prevent it from harming the environment.

Importantly, the Breathaboard developed by the experts is a sustainable alternative to gypsum plasterboard in terms of low carbon emissions and could make a real difference for the volume of emissions from the construction industry.

The association with the University of Bath to develop the product is a delight, added the expert.

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