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© Brooks Freehill

Inspired by the composition of coral and shellfish, Prometheus Materials, a Colorado-based company founded in 2021, has developed masonry blocks made from a cement-like and low-carbon material grown from microalgae. The blocks, which reportedly meet American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards, were made from an organic material grown in bioreactors that reproduces itself in a similar way to coral, according to a Dezeen report. “Coral reefs, shells and even the limestone we use today to make cement show us that nature has already figured out how to combine minerals in a strong, smart and efficient way,” said Wil V. Srubar III, co-founder of Prometheus Materials.

The novel cement is made from biomineralizing cyano-bacteria grown with sunlight, seawater and CO2. The blocks are created by mixing this bio-cement with additives to produce a low-carbon building material with mechanical, physical and thermal properties comparable to Portland cement. The material was initially developed by professors at the University of Colorado at Boulder in response to a request from the U.S. Department of Defense to come up with sustainable materials. Prometheus Materials was founded in 2021 to make the material available for public use. The company plans to produce a prefabricated material for roof tiles, wall panels, soundproof walls and other concrete elements over the next two years.

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