I always find anything that can reduce the logistics footprint of deployed operations interesting. This one caught my eye, microbial manufacture.
Peter Trimble has recently graduated from Edinburgh College of Art with a BA(Hons) Degree in Product Design. As part of his thesis project he looked at methods of reducing energy and materials use in construction.
We know that the current influences and trends in materials technology regarding energy reduction have welcome spin-offs for deployed operations. Reduce the material needs for a given construction project and you reduce the logistics needs, that, never being a bad thing.
The example shows it being used for furniture, in our context I could easily see it being used for general construction and engineering works that would ordinarily use concrete blocks.
From Peter’s website
This project investigates the possibilities of “microbial manufacture”; Replacing energy intensive methods of production with low energy biological processes.
“Dupe” is a microbially induced casting procedure, which presents the bacterium bacillus pasterurii as a method of cementing natural granular materials using minerals as a binding agent for the creation of useful objects.
The process forms mineral composits at biological temperatures. The biomaterial is structurally comparable to concrete, yet the production of the biomaterial produces no greenhouse gases. Concrete is responsible for 5 % of the worlds manmade C02 emissions. The biomaterial produced by this process is a stepping stone in the right direction for the reduction of these carbon emmsions.
Dupe is a low cost production method using very little energy and sand; a cheap and abundant raw material.
Dupe aims to raise questions about the future of industrial manufacturing and illustrates the sustainable potential that the ultilisation of bacillus pasterurii could have with the manufacturing industry. Whilst not providing definitive answers, this experiment aims to provide a point of departure for fresh thinking.
What has energised the press coverage is the use of urine to provide Bacillus pasteurii or Sporosarcina pasteurii as it is now apparently known.
Watch the video
And an earlier TED talk on a similar subject
All early days yet of course and no one is going to be excited about sitting on a piss filled stool but one to watch for the long term :)