Life cycle assessment of biocement: An emerging sustainable solution?

Porter, Hannah, Mukherjee, Abhijit, Tuladhar, Rabin, and Dhami, Navdeep Kaur (2021) Life cycle assessment of biocement: An emerging sustainable solution? Sustainability, 13 (24). 13878.

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Microbially Induced Calcium Carbonate Precipitation (MICP) is a natural biocementation that takes place in corals, stromatolites and beach rocks. In recent years, researchers have explored the emulation of this process as a sustainable alternative of engineered cement. Although the natural process is undoubtedly sustainable, its engineered variant deviates substantially from the natural process. In this paper, we investigate the environmental and economic performance of the engineered biocementation process vis-à-vis present manufacturing of calcium carbonate. SimaPro 8.0 software and the Ecoinvent V2.2 database were used for materials inputs and AUSLCI along with Cumulative Energy Demand 2.01 software were used for carbon footprint and eutrophication potential. Our results show that different metabolic pathways of MICP have considerably varying environmental impact. We observe that nature performs MICP sustainably at ambient conditions and geological time scales utilizing naturally occurring sources of carbon and calcium at micromoles concentrations. Due to the mandate on duration of construction projects, highly purified reactants in a high concentration are used in the engineered process. This has a negative environmental impact. We conclude that the sustainability of engineered MICP is directly impacted by the metabolic pathway of bacteria as well as the purity of the input chemicals. A few biotic processes are superior to the present industrial process for manufacturing calcium carbonate if ingredients of laboratory grade purity are replaced by industrial grade products. A bigger dividend can be obtained by introducing industry by-products as nutrients. The results of this study help to direct future research for developing sustainable biocement for the construction industry.

Item ID: 72839
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2071-1050
Keywords: Biocement, Life cycle analysis, MICP, Sustainability, cement
Copyright Information: © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (
Date Deposited: 19 Apr 2022 23:30
FoR Codes: 40 ENGINEERING > 4005 Civil engineering > 400505 Construction materials @ 70%
40 ENGINEERING > 4005 Civil engineering > 400502 Civil geotechnical engineering @ 30%
SEO Codes: 12 CONSTRUCTION > 1203 Construction materials performance and processes > 120301 Cement and concrete materials @ 80%
12 CONSTRUCTION > 1206 Environmentally sustainable construction activities > 120699 Environmentally sustainable construction activities not elsewhere classified @ 20%
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