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NSF Small Business Innovation Research Phase II

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This Small Business Innovation Research Phase II project is focused on the continued development of biologically grown masonry units as a commercially-viable and sustainable alternative to traditional fired masonry materials. This product is grown in ambient temperatures utilizing a natural calcium carbonate cement formation induced by a urease-producing microorganism. The Phase II project will focus on material testing and further optimization and cost reduction of biocement products, with the intention of demonstrating pilot manufacturing and rapid commercialization via licensee manufacturers. Using biologic products and fermentation procedures developed in the Phase I effort, improvements will be made to scale up manufacturing and reduce cost in the manufacturing process. The commercial potential of this technology is critically dependent on achieving cost and performance parity, if not superiority, with traditional materials. Each year, 1.23 trillion fired bricks are produced globally for use in construction, resulting in over 800 million tons of carbon emissions. The societal impacts of this research would include a dramatic reduction in these emissions, as well as a corresponding reduction in industrial by-product waste. This project will enhance the technological understanding for commercial viability and test data including durability and physical performance.

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